- Obesity costs the NHS £6bn a year and this figure is expected to increase to over £9.7bn a year by 2050
- Funding will speed up treatment, allowing NHS to reallocate funds to vital frontline services
Cutting-edge obesity treatments and technologies that could help people lose 20% of their body weight will soon be available to NHS patients thanks to £20m research funding, the government has announced.
Obesity costs the NHS a whopping £6 billion a year, a figure set to rise to more than £9.7 billion a year by 2050. The new investment announced today is expected to save the NHS billions of pounds over time and ensure vital funding goes to key frontline services.
The fund may provide patients with promising medicines and digital technologies, such as apps and online portals, to encourage lifestyle changes that have been shown to be safe in clinical trials and lead to significant weight loss.
Health and Social Care Secretary Steve Barclay said:
Having a healthy population is crucial to reducing the pressure on the NHS and supporting the obesity economy, which is currently estimated to cost the NHS almost £10bn a year by 2050.
We’re fast-tracking the most promising treatments and technologies for NHS patients to help them achieve a healthy weight, saving the NHS billions of pounds and increasing life expectancy.
We are determined to harness the full potential of innovative medical breakthroughs to improve the health of our nation.
An open competition will be held in early 2023 to determine where to conduct the research, exploring how new and potentially transformative medicines combined with technologies such as digital tools can improve the long-term health of people with obesity. Research will focus on areas outside of London and the Greater South East that have the highest rates of obesity and health disparities.
On Monday 28 November, the government will announce the approach of the vaccine task force to tackle some of the major public health problems that are hurting the economy and draining NHS resources.
Four healthcare missions will be launched, covering obesity, cancer, mental health and addiction, to rapidly develop and deliver new treatments, technologies and support to help patients live longer, healthier lives.
This builds on the UK Life Sciences Vision, published in July 2021, which sets out a 10-year strategy to capitalize on the success of the Covid response and accelerate the delivery of innovation to patients.