Obesity services deemed a patient postcode lottery

Researchers from the University of Glasgow have highlighted the inconsistencies in NHS weight management programmes across the UK.

Lamenting a lack of consistent reporting on obesity and weight management programmes around the UK, the experts are now hoping their new suggestions on reporting programme successes will help to reduce the postcode lottery of obesity care for patients.

Behavioural weight management interventions (BWMIs) are the first line treatment for overweight and obesity. These programmes routinely include patient interventions such as calorie restriction, increased physical activity.

However, across the country what patients receive from these programmes is inconsistent – mapping exercises in Scotland and England reveal wide variation in NHS adult weight management services with regard to inclusion criteria, referral routes, delivery format, as well as programme length and cost. These programmes are currently evaluated and report on results in different ways, meaning direct comparisons of effectiveness cannot be made between different services.

Jennifer Logue, who led the study, said: “We know that many obesity and weight management programmes are highly effective for patients, however understanding what initiatives work best are key to prolonged funding and best patient care. By having the information on how each programme works we can start to better understand what works best for patients. This will lead to improved outcomes for all services, potential cost savings and a move towards less variation in what is delivered.”

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