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England's National Health Service to deny surgery if patients don't quit smoking, lose weight

Plan has drawn sharp criticism
Posted at 7:07 AM, Oct 18, 2017

England's National Health Service will refuse surgery to patients unless they quit smoking or lose weight, according to reports.

The controversial plan was drawn up by groups who hope to save the NHS about $89.5 million per year, according to U.K.'s The Telegraph.

Patients who smoke or are obese "will not get non-urgent surgery until they reduce their weight," according to the commission who wrote the new rules. Patients who require life-saving surgeries or have extreme circumstances requiring a surgery will still be treated, regardless of their lifestyle.

According to Yahoo News, patients who smoke will be referred for operations if they've quit smoking for at least eight weeks. Smokers will undergo breathalyzer tests to see if they've indeed dropped the habit.

Britain's Royal College of Surgeons ripped the move, saying it was "discriminatory."

"Singling out patients in this way goes against the principles of the NHS," a representative of the Royal College of Surgeons told The Telegraph on Tuesday.

The new restrictions use Body Mass Index to judge a patient's fitness for surgery. It aims to have patients with a BMI of 30 or higher to reduce their weight by 10 percent over nine months, according to the newspaper. Those with a BMI over 40 would need to lose 15 percent of their weight in that span to be recommended for surgery.

Clint Davis is a reporter for the Scripps National Desk. Follow him on Twitter @MrClintDavis. Keep up to date with the latest news by following @ScrippsNational on Twitter.