In the UK at the moment, you may be refused health care if you’re overweight.
In some regions, if you’re considered ‘too heavy’ you will be refused operations like joint replacement. Being overweight is almost treated like a self-inflicted disease. Nearly 10% of health care authorities have a policy of refusing joint replacement surgery if you’re obese.
Just in case you’re wondering, the medical definition of obese is anyone who is 20% over the ‘ideal’ body weight. And since it’s estimated that 22% of us are currently obese the problem affects millions.
So what can you do about the problem? Well, it seems that you can’t just demand the operation because you may well face a fairly firm policy of refusal, depending on where you live. And the current justification seems to be that if you’re obese then there are greater risks in surgery. While that’s true, it does appear that the primary reason for the policy is to save money. The health care trusts involved all appear to be in debt, so it’s easy to see that they might be looking for savings somewhere.
Hard as it may be, about the only way to tackle the problem and qualify for the surgery is to lose weight so that you’re no longer obese. Or you could try to get treatment outside your own area.
At a time when over 30,000 people in the UK die from obesity related causes, the refusal of joint replacement surgery seems a little callous. But when you think that something like 7.5 billion pounds is spent overall on obesity related health treatment every year in the UK, it’s easy to understand why health care managers are looking to cut that cost down.
That doesn’t help you or a loved one if you need the surgery, but it should certainly give pause for thought.
Being very fat, obese in fact, has been linked to so many different health problems like heart disease, diabetes, stroke and even arthritis. Now it’s linked to not getting joint replacement surgery. The recommendation from every health professional is still the same: lose weight and your health will benefit as a result. You might even qualify for the surgery if you need it.
If you are overweight and you do need to lose weight there’s a fair chance that you’ve tried dieting in the past, most likely with poor results. With the new policy on surgery for overweight people it’s even more important than ever to lose the weight. Just be sure to do so safely, because dieting, especially yo-yo dieting, has now been shown to be damaging to your health. A sensible, sustained weight loss is far more effective and a whole lot safer than crash weight loss from faddy diets.
For the record, the health care trusts apparently operating the policy are North Staffs., Stoke, Lincolnshire, Nth. Lincolnshire, Milton Keynes, Hereford, Hertfordshire and Suffolk. If you live in one of the areas covered by those Trusts it might be wise to start looking for ways to lose weight safely. Will the policy continue? Who knows? But why face the uncertainty?
You should consult your doctor or health professional for advice and treatment of any condition, including being overweight or obese.