At the Governing Body meeting in common on 14th Feb 2018 of the North Kirklees and Greater Huddersfield CCGs in Dewsbury Town Hall, it was announced that due to opposition to the introduction of the rigid rule called Health Optimisation, preventing people who smoked or had a BMI of 30 or over, receiving elective operations until they stopped smoking for 6 months or had lost a percentage of their body weight, was to be scrapped.
Paula Sherriff MP in a Westminster debate which was mentioned, had noted the enormity of the postcode lottery the measure had created particularly on the border with Wakefield whose CCG did not introduce the policy.
Thelma Walker MP for Colne Valley had drawn attention to the fact that BMI was not a measure of fitness, since people who do sports often have strong muscles and a BMI which is higher than average.
The Health Optimisation Rule was also opposed by Clinicians in the hospitals.
At the meeting, deprivation between North Kirklees which has more than Greater Huddersfield, was clearly stated in a report by the Local Authority which summarised the most recent Joint Strategic Assesment. Nevertheless a GP from Huddersfield, said he wanted ‘disappointment’ mentioned in the minutes, because the policy was to address health inequality. In the opinion of this blog, it was not. If an person with a BMI over 30, or smoker had the requisite £10,000 or whatever it cost, there would be a surgeon to perform their operation and the NHS would pick up any problems afterwards. It seems to highlighted wealth inequalities. Watch out for more NHS doublespeak in the future. On the level of health, GPs can still talk to their patients about the advisability of losing weight and stopping smoking.
A question in the meeting elicited the verbal response that there had been no recorded saving from the initiative while it had been running, but later in the meeting a nurse on the Governing Body from the Greater Huddersfield CCG said she had heard the savings were predicted to be considerable. She wanted to know where the money to invest in the services needed to comply with the West Yorkshire and Harrogate wide ‘Healthy Choices’ instead, was going to come from. It is a good question. Public Health cuts are everywhere.