DR Mike Clark, clinical lead for health optimisation at NHS Eastern Cheshire CCG and GP with High Street Surgery, Macclesfield IN recent weeks there’s been lots of media coverage of NHS plans to ensure patients are in the best possible physical shape before having non-urgent surgery for things like hip or knee replacements.
Some commentators have welcomed these proposals as a sensible move to increase patients’ chances of making a complete recovery from surgery while others have dismissed the plans as penny pinching.
Here at the CCG we have no doubt that helping people to improve their health before going under the knife is the right thing to do. And that’s why our governing body voted last month to develop and implement something called a ‘preoperative optimisation policy’.
There’s strong evidence that surgery is less risky and patients recover more fully if they stop smoking, and address their weight, exercise regularly and drink sensibly.
The new policy is not intended to stop patients getting the treatment they need, but will allow a considered and appropriate opportunity to improve patient safety and outcomes by optimising health, which will have long-lasting benefits to the individual.
Our preoperative optimisation policy will empower patients to stop smoking and work towards their target weight, blood pressure and alcohol intake. The policy has been supported by GPs, surgeons and anaesthetists, and we continue to work closely together to embed this policy. It’s important to stress that the policy doesn’t apply to emergency surgery or to planned surgery that the surgeon and anaesthetist agree has become urgent for medical reasons.
Our figures suggest the policy could affect up to 10,400 patients a year, made up as follows:
6,900 patients needing to lose weight
2,800 patients needing to take more exercise
1,800 patients needing to stop smoking
690 patients needing to drink less alcohol.
GPs will advise patients on how to improve their health, at the point of considering referral for surgical opinion, and will work with Public Health providers to enable patients to access Cheshire East Council’s ‘One You’ programme to promote healthy lifestyles.
For lots of great advice on getting in shape, visit www.oneyoucheshireeast. org.