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Volume 471: debated on Thursday 31 January 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2008, Official Report, columns 1192-3W, on obesity, how many children of each age were treated in each of the obesity clinics for children in each of the last five financial years for which figures are available; (180785)

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of each of the clinics in treating patients for obesity; and what plans he has to increase the number of obesity clinics in England;

(3) what the most recent waiting time statistics are for each of the clinics, including the number of weeks patients have waited from referral to treatment; and what the equivalent figures were for the last five financial years for which figures are available;

(4) according to what criteria patients are referred to the clinics;

(5) which primary care trusts each of the 12 clinics serve;

(6) how many patients each clinic saw in each of the last five financial years for which figures are available; and what the funding for each clinic was in each of those years;

(7) which NHS obesity clinics have closed in the last five years; and what the (a) date and (b) reason was for each closure;

(8) what the average cost of each finished consultant episode for (a) a primary diagnosis and (b) a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity was in each year for which figures are available.

The White Paper ‘Choosing Health: making Healthy choices easier’ made a commitment that the prevention and treatment of obesity will ensure referral mechanisms to specialist obesity services that will be staffed by teams with specialist knowledge and training in obesity management. Local areas all decide the best types of treatments to provide for their own populations, in line with the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children.

NICE has recommended that surgical intervention only be conducted after dietary, exercise and behavioural approaches have been started and evaluated, i.e. as a last resort. NICE have also recently published a commissioning guide on bariatric surgery to help the national health service in England effectively commission evidence-based care for patients.

The Department has made no assessment of the effectiveness of clinics treating obesity and information on the number of patients seen (including children treated), waiting time, PCTs served by the existing NHS run clinics. Additional information requested could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.