Smokers and the obese must 'heal themselves'


NHS patients who smoke or are obese are being told they must "heal themselves" before being granted access to surgery, in a dramatic extension of NHS rationing as doctors struggle to find £20bn of savings over the next four years.

Family doctors from 50 GP practices in Hertfordshire providing care to 450,000 patients have agreed to block those who smoke or have a BMI of over 30 from being referred for routine hip or knee replacement surgery, without first being referred to a weight management or quit smoking scheme. The restriction, introduced eight weeks ago, is to be extended to all routine surgery, one specialty at a time, over the next few months. Similar moves to ration care are being debated by family doctors across the country.