Select local authorities have access to £4.3m from today to support the expansion of several weight management services and interventions, the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced.
The new ringfenced funding, announced today (1 July), will be allocated to test the expansion of behavioural weight management services for children and families, and to pilot brief interventions to improve children’s access to local support services, it said.
Local authorities will be expected to report to Public Health England (PHE) each month, marking referrals into the programme, first appointments and completions of the intervention.
The councils receiving funding are:
- Barking and Dagenham London Borough
- Birmingham City Council
- City of Bradford Metropolitan District Council
- Brent London Borough
- Enfield London Borough
- Hounslow London Borough
- Kingston Upon Hull City Council
- Liverpool City Council
- Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
- Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council
- Waltham Forest London Borough.
Weight management DES launch
The grants are available for 12 months from today, in line with the launch of the new NHS Digital Weight Management Programme.
GPs and primary care teams can now refer patients to the service, which was backed by £12m Government funding and will offer free online support to adults living with obesity who also have a diagnosis of diabetes, high blood pressure or both.
Under the new voluntary DES, enrolled practices will receive £11.50 per patient living with obesity who is referred to eligible weight management services.
However, NHS England guidance outlined that practices would need to develop a protocol for identifying and supporting patients living with obesity.
This would include annually recording information relating to weight in cases where a patient’s BMI indicates they are living with obesity.
Practices were also tasked with restoring their obesity registers to pre-pandemic levels ‘at a minimum’, after suggesting the numbers of people identified by general practice as living with obesity have fallen during the pandemic.
The BMA said the DES shows a ‘lack of trust in GPs and their teams’ and tries to ‘micromanage practices’.