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‘Postcode lottery’ for obesity patients seeking NHS help

Lack of
evidence:
The study
found it is
unclear
which
obesity
services
work best PICTURE: ALAMY

OBESITY patients face a ‘postcode lottery’ over their care, a new study has warned.

NHS weight management programmes suffer from a lack of consistency, the University of Glasgow report found.

Researchers found a wide variation in criteria for the schemes, referral routes, delivery formats and the length and cost of services across the UK.

Initiatives are evaluated in different ways — meaning ‘there is little evidence of what works best and what does not’, said lead author Dr Jennifer Logue.

And ‘the lack of consistent and comparable information’ has also led to a reluctance to fund more programmes.

The researchers hope better reporting on the schemes will help to improve and standardise them while saving money.

Dr Logue added: ‘We know that many obesity and weight management programmes are highly effective. However, understanding what initiatives work best is 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.

‘Hopefully, we will be able to prove just how effective many of these initiatives can be.’