New obesity clinic for children to be launched

Feet on scales
A new pilot service to treat children in Surrey with obesity is being launched [Getty Images]

A new pilot service to help children in Surrey with obesity is being launched, the BBC has learnt.

The Complications from Excess Weight (CEW) clinic will be hosted by Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust.

Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership says the service is expected to start taking referrals in the early autumn.

In 2022, NHS England said it was opening 30 clinics across the country, where children would receive support including mental health treatment and advice about a healthy diet.

The multi-disciplinary teams, which include consultant paediatricians, dietitians and psychologists, will use a holistic approach to treat children and their families.

Vicky Williams, associate director of women and children’s services at Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System, said: “Obesity affects one in four children in the UK and it can increase the likelihood of a child developing serious health issues.

"Providing support to children, young people and their families early on, and making sure they receive the ongoing support they need to prevent complications later, is a key priority for us."

She says the new service will provide specialist support to children and young people who have more complex health needs.

"It means that, in future, children and young people will be referred to a specialist service in Surrey, closer to home, instead of having to travel further away – so it’s good news for families in Surrey."

'Restrictions on advertising'

NHS Frimley Integrated Care Board says eligible children in its area are currently being seen by consultants at the CEW clinic in Southampton.

A clinic is also being established more locally for patients from Surrey Heath and Farnham, North East Hampshire and East Berkshire.

NHS bosses say obesity affects one in four children in the UK and can increase the likelihood of a child developing serious health issues, such as Type 2 diabetes, liver conditions and early heart disease.

The latest statistics from the child measurement programme in schools found nearly 13% of children measured in Surrey in 2022/23 were living with obesity in year six of primary school.

The previous government introduced a tax on high-sugar soft drinks in 2018 and restrictions on where unhealthy products could be promoted in supermarkets in England.

The new Labour government has told BBC South East it will take action to prevent ill-health and tackle the obesity crisis head on.

A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We will introduce tight restrictions on advertising junk food, alongside banning children from being able to purchase sugary, high caffeine energy drinks.

“By building a healthier society, we will help to build a healthy economy.”

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