Smokers face ‘unfair' delays to elective surgery

Plans to order patients to attend smoking cessation clinics before elective surgery are inappropriate and unfair, say GPs.

Norfolk PCT, which has a £50 million deficit, is planning to take smokers off waiting lists for procedures such as hip replacements until they attend smoking cessation clinics.

Director of clinical services at the PCT Dr Rob Colebrook said that non-smokers had fewer complications after surgery and heal faster.

Dr Colebrook said: ‘We are not denying patients the treatment, but giving them an incentive to give up at an important time.’

Norfolk LMC secretary Dr Simon Lockett said smokers ‘should not be disadvantaged by being forced to wait for important operations’.

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