Denying Surgery to Obese People is Dumb and Cruel

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A blanket ban on treatment ignores the complexity of obesity

Thankfully, the Vale of York NHS group has put on hold its dreadful and dangerous plan to deny surgery to obese people. News of the proposed rationing sparked widespread criticism and would’ve seen people with a body mass index higher than 30 facing delays of up to a year for non-life-threatening surgery. The health service may well be under financial pressure, but this is not the solution.
Obesity was classified as a disease by the American Medical Association in 2013, even though its status as such is still contentious. Nevertheless, it is a complex condition and can have many causes.
For example, some obese people are suffering from an addiction to food, while others have genetic and hormonal factors that contribute to their size. Yes, lots of them are gluttonous porkers who ignore health warnings while continuing to fill their bellies with burgers, but not all.
A blanket ban on treatment ignores this complexity and disregards those who are making strenuous efforts to cut down their weight. And let’s not forget they have paid into the system like everybody else and should therefore be entitled to exactly the same treatment.
Delaying surgery doesn’t make any financial sense either. An individual’s health problems could worsen over time and become more expensive to treat once a ban has been lifted. I hope this silly plan has finally been kicked into touch and never sees the light of day.

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