Denying patients NHS treatment based on lifestyle factors is not conducive to a good doctor-patient relationship

Publication date: 14 November 2017

In response to the Hertfordshire Valley CCG’s decision to restrict access to routine surgery until morbidly obese patients have lost weight, or smokers have given up, as discussed on the BBC Daily Politics show today, Professor Helen Stokes-Lampard, Chair of the Royal College of GPs, said:

"As frontline GPs, we fully understand the struggles of the NHS and that funding decisions are becoming increasingly difficult, but patients go to see their GP expecting non-judgemental care and it's important that their trust in us is not compromised.

"To prevent patients from receiving NHS treatment that they would benefit from is not the solution and goes against the founding principles of our health service. Measures such as breathalysing smokers are extreme and not conducive to a good doctor-patient relationship.

"We always encourage patients to take responsibility for their own health and will work with them to ensure that if they need surgery, they can go into it knowing they are as healthy as they can be.

"GPs and our teams work very hard with patients to improve their health through lifestyle changes, and initiatives such as smoking cessation clinics have been hugely successful.

"Our best chance at making sure GPs can carry on supporting patients in this way is to ensure general practice has the investment it needs.

"That's why we need NHS England's GP Forward View - which promises £2.4billion extra a year for general practice, 5,000 more GPs, and 5,000 more members of the practice team - delivered, in full, as a matter of urgency."

Further Information

RCGP Press office: 020 3188 7574/7575/7633/7410
Out of hours: 0203 188 7659

Notes to editor

The Royal College of General Practitioners is a network of more than 52,000 family doctors working to improve care for patients. We work to encourage and maintain the highest standards of general medical practice and act as the voice of GPs on education, training, research and clinical standards.

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