UK GP weight loss resources? any in your area?

I asked at my local GP if there were any GP backed weight loss programmes. I was surprised to find there isn't. We are constantly told that obesity is costing the NHS an estimated £2 billion a year but the local health services don't seem to have anything in place to help. If you put this in to context and compare against weekly stop smoking groups held at the surgery.

My weight was at a point where it was effecting my health but the best they could offer was "come in every few weeks and weigh yourself on our scales." My GP surgery is very good so I was surprised at this hole in preventative care. I know its my responsibility but again if I use the example of a smoker I do not see the difference. Why wait until someone needs a gastric band, which personally I think does very little to address why someone is overweight, and cost the NHS £30,000 in treatment.

I am not saying that I expect or need them to help me but I would have though that there would be more services available. I am reasonably intelligent and know that my diet was bad and I was lazy. But having access to a nutritionist, weekly weigh in and a group session etc would help so many people understand why their choices are bad and reduce the burden put on to the health service by obesity. How many people don't go to fatfighters or similar because it costs them money but would go to a session run by a practice nurse.


  • NemesisJRM
    NemesisJRM Posts: 248 Member
    Dude I'm in the UK up in Scotland, My Mother is in Newcastle, the GP is talking through his hole. If they feel you are going to loose weight from it they can refer you to weight watchers 3 months paid at a time and you have to weigh in to prove your loosing, but as long as you do they keep paying your subscription. Once you stop loosing or gaining, they stop paying.

    This is on the NHS and mum is already getting it just now, so I know its true >8-)

    Hope this helps you bud, personally I'd go back and get them told to sort it out for you.
  • i have never been offered help from my GP, only told it would help if you lost weight,
    by the look of your photos you are doing very well without help from them.
  • clarech82
    clarech82 Posts: 244 Member
    I was suprised at this too I went to my gp to ask for help and advice and all I was given was a prescription for xenical which I never took and told to join weight watchers to which I replied I couldn't afford so he just shrugged. I agree with you that you would think there would be more.
  • NemesisJRM
    NemesisJRM Posts: 248 Member
    People your GP can refer you to weight watchers with a paid subscription, they just don't advertise it. It would cost a fortune to put everyone on it, but honestly its part of the NHS. You just have to ask about it direct! There is help if you push to get it.
  • Trixtabella
    Trixtabella Posts: 471 Member
    What you need to remeber is that one area, for example Newcastle offer this service, doesn't mean it will be offered in your area. That is not how the NHS works, doctors surgeries are given a budget and it is up to your particular surgery on how they spend the money obviously yours focuses on stopping patients from smoking.

    I had the same issue, when I asked mine for help. They told me I could have weekly appts with the nurse for a weigh in and they gave me some leaflets. Pretty useless.

    Also when the papers say the it is costing the NHS 2 billion a year due to obese people I don't think they mean helping people lose weight, its the people that have surgery and diabetes and heart surgery ect. You would think they would offer more help seeing as they say prevention is better than cause.

    I think your doctor can see your losing the weight I bet if you went back and put on 5 stone they would stand up and take notice then. I have read stories of people pilling on the weight so they can get gastric bands on the NHS. Ridiculas.
  • Hi im in scotland also...and I know in our area you can be refered to a weight managment clinic in Glasgow through the nhs.. also coveres other areas... there is also shape up classes which the nhs help run at the local gym.... they also do live active referals which you can ask your gp or health visitor about which alows you acess to a gym referal and you get individual advice and training about diet & fitness thats int he West Dunbaratonshire area... but you can ask to be refered to a dietition..try a different Dr ... you may also get more advice on nhschoices web site..
  • IronSmasher
    IronSmasher Posts: 3,908 Member
    Your GP is a douche. The NHS have dieticians, nutritionists, weight loss consultants, trainers, physiotherapists, bariatric surgeons and consultants, alli or xenocal on prescription....

    Without even knowing where you are, I can guarantee there's a practise nurse in your area running a weight loss clinic.

    You're all on here for free anyway, so quit your b****ing
  • NemesisJRM
    NemesisJRM Posts: 248 Member
    Agreed IronSmasher, Trix what your talking about would be discrimination if they sub divided the country into area's, think about it. I can assure you what I can get here and my mother in Newcastle, can be done nation wide. It would be illegal otherwise.
  • littlemili
    littlemili Posts: 625 Member
    I think the difference with smoking is that it's an addiction. Now if you are mentally ill and have food addiction or binge eating disorder yes it would be treated in an NHS hospital clinic, with specialist advice. If you think you fall in that category then I would recommend you investigate that route.

    If you have just been too lazy and greedy for too long then you don't need the NHS spending their time and money on you, if you can't be arsed to do it yourself (which you clearly can since you're here). Honestly it seems selfish to think that's a good use of their resources when weight loss is incredibly basic and there are free resources to help you with it anyway. You are probably not the sort of person who will be draining the NHS of money by getting obesity related illnesses since you are being proactive about your health, and those are don't really care about their health wouldn't go to help sessions anyway.
  • clarech82
    clarech82 Posts: 244 Member
    People your GP can refer you to weight watchers with a paid subscription, they just don't advertise it. It would cost a fortune to put everyone on it, but honestly its part of the NHS. You just have to ask about it direct! There is help if you push to get it.

    This is not true I'm in surrey and when I asked if there was any way of getting help they said no. There is different things you can get in different areas its even the same with cancer treatment ect. It's all down to where you live and what their budget covers.
  • porffor
    porffor Posts: 1,212 Member
    It is often down to the individual GP or nurse at the clinic. Have a chat to see if they have a nurse that will help. At my heaviest (17 stone) a nurse offered to be my 'weigh in clinic' so I started losing weight (she recommended Atkins - which I know a lot wouldn't but I still ate meat and it worked for me for a short time, I've never gone back up to that weight either), and I weighed in with her fortnightly as a way of being accountable. There was no pressure just help and guidance, she'd talk to me about how I was feeling about my eating etc.
    I have been veggie for a number of years now so don't go back to Atkins and am losing by 'being good' these days but she was definately the first BIG step for me to take control of my weight and work on reducing it.

    If you can't get help from your GP or a weight loss group, why not use MFP? just because it's on a computer doesn't make it less effective, just look around you!
  • Agreed IronSmasher, Trix what your talking about would be discrimination if they sub divided the country into area's, think about it. I can assure you what I can get here and my mother in Newcastle, can be done nation wide. It would be illegal otherwise.

    Hi, I'm a nurse and I have to say...that's not true. You have your PCT, your local health authority etc...and it's up to them what they spend their money on. So it is discriminatory and that is what gave birth to the postcode lottery. Where one area may decide to invest in a drug for a particular illness you can get the area next to it that don't. So, in effect you can have neighbours with different postcodes who get different healthcare.

    There are general standards that they all have to meet, guidlines and recommendations. So long as they meet all standards the rest is up to them. One PCT may decide to invest in breast cancer screening, one on diabetes and one on smoking etc.

    They all have to provide a certain level, but no - they aren't all the same.
  • songofserenity81
    songofserenity81 Posts: 138 Member
    unfortunatly its the good old postcode lottery in action :grumble: we dont have to like it but do have to live with it. Different PCT's have differing guidlines for what can and will be offered.
  • Hi I live in North Wales and my doctor offered me Gym time. I would join the gym they would set up a programe for me and I would pay reduced fees with our local nhs paying the rest but they also offer weight watchers too
  • caroltina
    caroltina Posts: 453 Member
    unfortunatly its the good old postcode lottery in action :grumble: we dont have to like it but do have to live with it. Different PCT's have differing guidlines for what can and will be offered.

    Was totally going to say POstcode lottery got the name for a reason :(
  • kyle4jem
    kyle4jem Posts: 1,400 Member
    The Postcopde lottery of NHS healthcare is indeed very unfair. In Scotland healthcare is probably better than in England & Wales and Jim your mum's lucky that Northumberland, Tyne & Wear offer these services.

    Dan, GPs unfortunately all have different agendas too. When I started getting heavy I was living in London and my GP sent me for numerous tests because I was worried about my rapid weight gain. They did in the end find out I have a cup & spill stomach, but that should actually make me more prone to weight loss.. so go figure. Another GP in the same practice told me I had high cholesterol, while a third told me that was nonsense. GP#4 then told me I had to strave myself... didn't offer any other advice or a practical solution. Needless to say, I stopped going to the doctors.

    I lived in the Medway for a bit and the GPs at the medical centre were willing me to become ill. Their disappointment when all my tests for hypertension, diabetes and cholesterol all came back in the normal range was palpable. Even the locums used t get in on the act.

    I haven't really broached the subject with my current GP. I had to go because I have a fungal infection on my feet and I did mention that I was trying to lose weight, but didn't get a lecture which I took to be a good sign. I have to go back next month for a checkup and repeat prescription, so I think I might just ask to get checked over then.

    Some Health Trusts are investing in preventitive measures. I do find it worrying that some are willing to offer patients lap bands rather than work with them to understand why they overeat and how to break that cycle. Plus the rapid weighloss that so often accompanies lap-bnd procedures lead to other complications... unless you're a TV celeb with money to throw at personal trainers, nutritionists and the like.

    Anyway, all that aside, I think that as a resource, the community MFP is great because it's free to use, you get support and you're not limited to one regime or ethos. You get to hear from various folks doing 101 different things to get fit and lose weight and I think that is priceless. I've never had the success with any other plan that I'd had with MFP and more importantly, I see this as sustainable and not just something I'll do for a few weeks/months and then go back to eathing my way through a tub of Celebrations washed down with vanilla milkshake and a large Chinese take-away for afters.
  • Tabby1980
    Tabby1980 Posts: 75 Member
    It makes me so angry that doctors everywhere are so varied in how helpful they are! Last year, living in East London, I had a lovely doctor and was offered free gym membership and 6 months subscription to Weight Watchers amongst other things. I didn't take advantage of it as we were about to move house away from the area. Now, in Nottinghamshire, I seriously want to loose weight and become healthier but have been told there's nothing the NHS can do for me. Also, as someone trying for a baby, I won't be given any tests or help for fertility unless I loose weight! Thanks for all the help and positive mental attitude NHS! }:-(
    Anyway thank goodness for websites like this :D
  • flipsit
    flipsit Posts: 111
    I'm in Kent and my borough council runs a 10 week weight management programme. They also run an exercise programme, where you get reduced rates at the leisure centre to use the pool/ gym/ some classes. I was referred to it via my gp practice.
    The weight management programme is run by a nutritionist and a fitness trainer. The focus is on making a lifestyle change as well as encouragement to lose weight through the process.
  • stephaniezoundi
    stephaniezoundi Posts: 1,148 Member
    I completely agree with you! If I walked into my GP and was severely underweight, suffering anorexia and bulimia they would be all over me to help me because it was life threatening. Well sorry, being 30 and 368lbs (when I started) that too is life threatening. My GP's have always brought up that I was obese (gee really, you think I dind't notice :mad: ) but only ever offered me pills, Orlistat specifically (don't take it anyone reading this! It was awful and the side effects were mortifying!). One actually said, well you know how to eat properly its just common sense - well duh, if I could eat properly, I wouldn't weigh this much! Thank goodness for resources like this wonderful website that make it possible to do on your own - but with the support of like minded people. :flowerforyou:
  • trud72
    trud72 Posts: 1,912 Member
    i am in wilts,
    i was down for gastric banding and nearly done it but i have lost most of the weight myself! :)
    i got to speak to a dietition(part of the banding process) and you have to weigh in with her for 6 months to make sure you can loose the weight ect and that just got me on the path of doing it on my own! why they can't supply that as a service on it's own i don't know but it would save alot of money becauce alot of women in those groups have NO intension of looseing weight before surgery they are just to plain lazy!