The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Obesity are currently gathering evidence for an inquiry into the opportunities and challenges presented for people living with obesity, or at risk of obesity, from the introduction of Integrated Care Systems (ICS). The Inquiry is asking for evidence from people who live with obesity, policy makers, clinicians, researchers and others.
There's lots involved in losing weight and maintaining that weight loss. It's different for each person and needs a supportive environment. Two-thirds of the UK population have obesity or overweight at the moment, and many experience significant stigma as a result. Many of these people would benefit from being able to access support to help them to lose weight and maintain weight loss.
Services to support weight management across the UK are provided in four tiers. Definitions of weight management tiers can vary at a local level. Generally they range from signposting and promoting of healthy lifestyles to approaches that involve medical treatment and surgery. For example, tier 4 covers weight loss surgery. There are also different specialist diabetes prevention programmes available across parts of the UK. However, provision of publicly-funded weight management services across the UK is patchy.
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There are now 42 ICSs across England that will bring together providers and commissioners of healthcare across geographical areas. This will include the involvement of local authorities and other local partners. As weight management services span across community-based services, the ICSs overarching strategic role has the potential to support significant improvements.
The inquiry asks how ICSs can ensure that the different tiers of weight management services are well-integrated and focussed around people’s different needs. It also asks which individuals and organisations should be involved in the development and delivery of these services, as well as taking evidence on any other issues ICS leaders should consider. Diabetes UK will be making recommendations to the APPG highlighting why it is important for ICSs to ensure that weight management services effectively support people to live healthy lifestyles.
This inquiry comes at an important time as ICSs will be given new statutory responsibilities by April 2022. If you are a healthcare professional, provider, or someone who has experience of weight management services in your local area we encourage you to also feed into this inquiry with your insights.
The closing date for response is Monday 13th December 2021.