AHP representative, Prof Rachel Batterham, has produced an important report looking at how weight management services can improve health outcomes and we would encourage everyone to read this important work.
It includes suggested steps to establish weight management services in a region
1. Find out the degree of obesity in the local population. What is the need for and potential uptake of each Tier of the service?
2. Use the NICE local costing template to estimate initial and future expenditure. Enquire about funds available from NHS England and allocate budgets accordingly.
3. See what services are already available in the region and nationally. Many Tier 2 and exercise referral services are well-established and funded. These may contribute to a specialist Tier 3 weight management service with additional input.
4. Look at models for effective commissioning of Tier 3 and Tier 4 services. Work with your acute provider to commission effective services, ensuring appropriate pathways into bariatric surgery, enough theatre time and effective after-care with at least 2 years follow-up.
5. Identify a champion for obesity. This could be a lead physician or a commissioning champion.
6. Produce local primary care guidance to cover how to raise the issue of obesity with patients, what the local referral pathways are and what is required from GPs post-surgery.
7. Implement effective monitoring and evaluation of services, including contributing to national registries.
8. Liaise with other CCG regions. Explore existing commissioning policies and shared needs with regions of similar population demographics. This will be advantageous in achieving the economies of scale, sharing limited specialist resources and adhering to the IFSO guidelines for safety, quality and excellence in bariatric surgery.