Information for healthcare professionals
Currently, general practices and community pharmacies can refer members of the public to the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme. Further information is available on our Information for general practices web page and our Information for community pharmacies web page.
About the programme
The programme offers online access to weight management services to people living with obesity who also have a diagnosis of either diabetes, hypertension, or both.
With three levels of support and a choice of providers, it is designed to offer service users a personalised level of support to help them manage their weight and improve longer term health outcomes.
Who can be referred?
Referrals to the programme are only for people that meet the following criteria:
- are over the age of 18
- have a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or more (adjusted to ≥27.5 for people from black, Asian and ethnic minority backgrounds)
- have a diagnosis of diabetes (type 1 or type 2), hypertension or both.
Who cannot be referred?
Any person that meets any of the following exclusion criteria should not be referred to the programme:
- recorded as having moderate or severe frailty
- is pregnant
- has an active eating disorder
- has had bariatric surgery in the last two years
- people for whom a weight management programme is considered to pose greater risk of harm than benefit.
For people aged over 80 years old, the referrer will need to confirm on the referral form that a weight management programme is considered likely to pose greater benefit than harm.
Join our NHSFuture network
To connect with colleagues in your area who have made referrals into the programme, to read how the programme has benefitted service users and to share best practice, join our NHSFuture network.
How the programme supports the NHS Long Term Plan
The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme supports the delivery of the NHS Long Term Plan commitments relating to obesity, focusing on weight management to support people living with obesity who also have a diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension or both. Obesity is a serious health concern that increases the risks of many other health conditions, including Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, joint problems, mental health problems and some cancers.
There is also evidence to suggest that people living with obesity are more likely to be admitted to hospital, intensive care and, sadly, die from COVID-19 compared to people living with a healthy body weight.
The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme provides weight management services flexibly, without the need for people to travel. Evidence from the NHS Digital Diabetes Prevention Programme shows that digital and remote weight management services are more likely to be accessed by younger (working age) people whilst maintaining comparable results to face-to-face weight management services.
The programme has been designed to offer service users a personalised level of intervention to support them manage their weight, improve quality of life and improve longer term health outcomes. It works alongside and does not replace existing weight management services funded by local authorities.
Weight management services can provide substantial health benefits to people and can benefit the NHS by preventing future diseases, and the NHS Digital Weight Management Programme means weight management services are accessible to more people.