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More obese people and smokers in England will wait longer for surgery, says leaked letter

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Why will obese patients and smokers wait longer for operations?

A scheme to make the obese and heavy smokers wait longer for routine knee replacement surgery is likely to be implemented across England, a leaked letter by an NHS England official has revealed.

The letter, from joint medical director at NHS England David Black to Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group, congratulated the group on making difficult decisions to manage resources.

It was published by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

The newspaper revealed one in five patients in the area were told their referral to hospital for knee replacement surgery would be delayed and they should lose weight or stop smoking while they waited. The CCG has called this ‘a six-month period of health optimisation’.

Mr Black wrote that he encouraged the idea where plans were well developed and clinically validated, and said he expected many CCGs to introduce the scheme.

NHS