NHS England Launches New Weight Management Services

Priscilla Lynch 

July 05, 2021

NHS England has launched new weight management services for adults and children as part of the Government’s drive to tackle obesity.

Launched on 1 July, the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme will offer free online support via GP and primary care team referrals for adults living with obesity, who also have a diagnosis of either diabetes, high blood pressure or both, to help manage their weight and improve their health. The programme is being supported by £12 million of government funding, 

The Government is also providing £30 million of new funding to councils across England to roll out expanded management services for adults living with obesity. Services can be delivered face to face, remotely or digitally. With 98% of councils accepting the funding, NHS England said that individuals will be able to sign up for this service via their primary care services or in some areas, refer themselves via their local authority.

In most areas, services will include 12-week sessions, with dietary advice, physical activity guidance and support to help people start and maintain healthier habits.

An additional £4.3 million of new funding has also been allocated to 11 local authorities to support the expansion of child weight management services from 2021 to 2022. They will trial new ways to improve access to services for up to 6,000 children identified as living with excess weight or obesity.

Commenting on the new services, Public Health Minister Jo Churchill said: “It’s really important we help people access services that are convenient for them and tailored to their needs. By expanding virtual and face-to-face weight management support across the country, we’re bringing improved health and wellbeing closer to home.”

Almost two-thirds of adults in England are living with excess weight or obesity, and one in three children leaving primary school is living with overweight or obesity. 

Obesity-related illnesses cost the NHS £6 billion a year. The Government’s Office for Health Promotion, set to fully launch later this year, will lead efforts nationally to help people manage their health and wellbeing.

However, the British Medical Association (BMA) has previously criticised the new enhanced service for general practice in England, saying that it is "fundamentally flawed, will have little to no impact in tackling the problem, and will present significant rise in workload at a time when practices are at breaking point".

This article originally appeared on Univadis, part of the Medscape Professional Network.

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