ROTHERHAM’S pioneering fat-fighting clinic has suffered a hammer blow after its last public funding lifeline was cut.
Dr Matt Capehorn (pictured), who runs the Rotherham Institute for Obesity (RIO), had hoped that Rotherham Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) might step in and save the Clifton-based centre after council chiefs withdrew their financial support.
But the dismayed doctor revealed today that the CCG had informed him they would not be coming forward to keep the facility afloat.
It means if the centre can continue, patients will have to pay for their own treatment.
The Advertiser has previously reported how Dr Capehorn had predicted the healthy eating and exercise clinic would have to shut in July without renewed public funding.
Dr Capehorn said today that RIO had been informed by the CCG, which commissions non-hospital health services in Rotherham, that it “will not step in to save the current weight management services that have made such a difference to the quality of life to so many Rotherham patients”.
He added: “As many will already be aware, Public Health Rotherham decided to put in-year financial savings ahead of the health of the Rotherham population by deciding to decommission Tier 3 weight management services, as well as many other changes to the award-winning Rotherham Healthy Weight Framework, which has been delivered by RIO since 2009.
“This is despite Public Health England, Sir Simon Stevens, head of NHS England, politicians, healthcare specialists and just about everyone else pointing out that obesity is a public health priority, that causes premature death, and either causes or worsens over 50 different medical conditions.
“The projections for obesity, and the associated direct and indirect costs, can ruin the health of the nation, and potentially bankrupt the NHS, not to mention how weight problems affect the quality of life for the individual.
“It does not sound like this has been prioritised given that Public Health Rotherham and the council are still funding other services, when they have cut weight management services.”
From now on, the GP said: “I fear that patients will receive a substandard service, and a delay in appropriate treatment.”
Dr Capehorn said the grim news did not spell the end for RIO, insisting it “will continue to exist” and provide weight management services.
But he warned: “Unless things change, this may only be available to the patients that can afford to self-fund, which should not be the type of healthcare we want or accept.”
Rotherham CCG has been approached for comment.