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Obese people denied services due to rationing

Obese people are being denied weight management services, due to rationing because of budget cuts, research from public health expert suggests.

New research from the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH) suggests that budget cuts are having a direct impact on the availability of many of the frontline services which have a role to play in fighting obesity, including weight management and exercise referral schemes.

The survey found that 49% of weight management services have been rationed, along with 44% of exercise referral schemes.

Budget constraints were cited as the overwhelming factor (by 78.89%) behind the rationing decisions.

Shirley Cramer, chief executive of RSPH said that “obesity, which Simon Stevens has called 'the new smoking', is arguably the number one threat to both the public's health and our NHS, but people in the frontline are reporting that some of our most effective weapons aimed at tackling this threat, such as exercise referral and weight management services are being restricted. 

“A strategy which undermines prevention defies logic and is only storing up problems for the future, which will be amplified in terms of cost and impact to our nation's health,” she said.  

Other services that have been cut include NHS health checks (35%), child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) (32%), alcohol treatment services (28%), sexual health (28%), drug treatment (27%), smoking cessation (26%) and vaccinations (16%).