Anger over dieting delays

Andrew Oldham suffers from MS and is disappointed over the closure of the NHS Choose to Change programme

Andrew Oldham suffers from MS and is disappointed over the closure of the NHS Choose to Change programme

2
Have your say

Desperate dieters have expressed their disappointment over delays to a promised health group.

Andrew Oldham, 49, has multiple sclerosis (MS) which causes tiredness and problems with mobility. He weighed more than 20 stone when he signed up to ABL Health Ltd’s ‘Choose to Change’ weight loss group nine months ago, and shed around three stone.

The group came to an end in February after Blackpool CCG decided not to renew the company’s contract and instead promised ‘a far better service for patients enabling greater access to a wider range of support and treatment’.

But three months on, ‘minor delays’ have meant that the new health group will not see the light of day until the end of the summer months.

Former business manager Andrew, who lives at Heron’s Reach, said: “We all feared this would happen, and it’s such a shame because if I can lose weight on the programme anybody can.

“The company that was doing it did such a fantastic job and a lot of people were seeing really positive results.

“I received a letter from the CCG in February saying they were looking at replacing the service, and I have just heard nothing since.

“We are all extremely disappointed. I have struggled with my weight all my life, and have put half a stone back on since the group finished. We can lose weight on our own, but having the support there makes a real difference.”

Fellow dieter and mum-of-two Margaret Casey, 66, of Courtfield Avenue, weighed 28 stone when she signed up to the weight loss group last year, and was suffering from heart and respiratory failure. She dropped from a size 5XL to a size 20 thanks to the support service.

She said: “They have showed us no consideration. I lost nine stone, I gave up smoking and I was doing exercise and enjoying it. Why start something like that up only to scrap it?

“I feel very disappointed and disillusioned with the NHS.”

A spokesman for Blackpool CCG said: “As commissioners we are working in partnership with Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Blackpool Council to complete the plans for the new service.

“There have been some minor delays but these are now in hand and we should be able to launch the new service before the end of the summer. The new service will build on the ‘Choose to Change’ programme to offer greater access to a wider range of support and treatment addressing social isolation, lack of physical activity, and unhealthy weight.”