New weight management pilot scheme is welcome step in tacking obesity alongside necessary preventative measures, says BMA

by BMA media office

BMA press release. 

Location: England
Published: Wednesday 7 June 2023
Press release icon

Responding to the Government’s announcement1 of a new two-year pilot scheme to explore the use of obesity drugs for patients living with obesity outside of hospital settings, BMA board of science chair, Professor David Strain said:

“Obesity, and the conditions associated with it, can be devastating for people living with it and adds significant pressure to the NHS so the introduction of this pilot scheme is a welcome step forward in looking at new ways to tackle the issue.

“There is however a need for greater clarity on whether this scheme will be funded from a new package or existing NHS budgets. With the waiting list now surpassing seven million, we simply cannot afford for vital services elsewhere to be cut as moving investment from one part of the health services to another will not reduce overall demand.

"It is also essential that this funding does not come at the expense of upstream preventative strategies, such as delivering on the long-delayed existing policy commitments around junk food advertising on pre-watershed TV and online. The Government must create the opportunities for everyone, particularly our children, to be able to eat healthily and have access to open spaces for recreation.

“Given the significant pressures that general practice is under, it is crucial that when the scheme is rolled out more widely, primary care is in a position to be able to deliver it in a way that is sustainable. The Government must ensure that general practice has the right resources to support an intervention that, although will improve the quality of lives of thousands of people in the long term, will take a considerable time to realise the benefits on the health service.”

Notes to editors

The BMA is a professional association and trade union representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives. 

  1. Details of new Government pilot scheme to tackle scheme.

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