Sunderland MP backs calls to end postcode lottery over obesity treatment
Sunderland MP Sharon Hodgson is backing calls for a national obesity strategy to ensure anyone struggling with their weight can get advice to advice and treatment.
Ms Hodgson, the Shadow Minister for Public Health, has backed a new report by a group of parliamentarians which calls for a national obesity strategy to bring together government departments to deal with the UK's obesity time-bomb.
The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Obesity, a group of MPs and peers, launched its new report into the provision of obesity services at Westminster this week.
Ms Hodgson joined colleagues in calling on the Government to develop a national strategy to tackle the growing obesity problem.
The group called for:
* A national obesity strategy, bringing together different government departments, to ensure children are protected from junk food and adults with obesity who seek help from their GP have access to advice and treatment.
The MPs say access to effective obesity services is currently a postcode lottery, with decisions on funding for obesity services being made by local commissioners. They say a whole-system approach with government backing would make action more likely.
* The Government to lead or support efforts by the clinical community to investigate whether obesity should be classified as a disease in the UK, and what this would mean for the NHS and other services.
* The Government to commission or support the development of a thorough, peer-reviewed cost benefit analysis of earlier intervention and treatment of patients with obesity.
The group also backed calls by figures such as Jamie Oliver for the Government to introduce a 9pm watershed for advertisements for junk food, to tackle childhood obesity.
Ms Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, said: “I am pleased to back this new report into obesity in the UK. This is a growing problem.
"We must take urgent action to make sure people do not develop obesity, and that everybody in Washington and Sunderland who seeks help from their GP can access advice and treatment.
“It is unacceptable that adults and children with obesity who seek help from their GP find that local commissioners have not put any services in place to support them.
"We must remember it is not just about prevention, but also helping those who are already overweight and obese and require treatment and support.
“In my position as Shadow Public Health Minister this is an issue close to my heart, and one I have been campaigning on for many years.
"It is great that the report launch was so successfully received and I hope the report gives the Minister food for thought.”