The director of a Sheffield health service has praised the council’s proposals to focus on early intervention for targeting ‘crucial gaps’.
But Kath Sharman, managing director of the SHINE Health Academy, a community-based, not-for-profit company that aims to help obese young people aged 10 to 17, has also called on Sheffield Council not to ‘abandon’ people as it shifts its obesity focus.
She said: “I applaud the council for conducting such a wide consultation and there are some excellent points made.
“I completely understand the public health focus on tier one and tier two - and there are some crucial gaps identified.
“Prevention and early intervention work should be a priority in reducing the prevalence of obesity, and that should start with maternal health and early years.
“Weight management programmes for children are presently only offered from seven to 17 years so there is a gap.
“I absolutely agree that additional funding should be allocated to developing services to fill this gap - but not at the detriment of no longer investing in other much needed tier three services which provide for an extremely vulnerable and needy group.
“With the disinvestment starting in September, and the potential input from the Clinical Commissioning Group not starting until April 2015, it will leave several months of reduced services where complex cases could require costlier NHS input as a result.
“Although gaps in tier three services for children under 15 was mentioned in the document, there is no further mention of how this will be redressed within the commissioning plan, which only refers to services for 15 years and above.
“SHINE has provided a high quality tier three service for children and young people in Sheffield for the past 10 years with highly specialised care pathways for those with a BMI above the 99.6 centile with complex needs, both physically and psychologically.
“Seeing around 200 children and their families per year, we have been dependent on grant funding.
“We provide a range of therapeutic services such as counselling and behaviour modification and have been greatly supported by senior consultants at Sheffield Children’s Hospital in those requiring medication and bariatric surgery.
“The new commissioning plan will hopefully, in time, prevent children reaching this critical stage - but those requiring tier three support should not be abandoned in the process of achieving this.”