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Deadline looming for practices wanting to sign up for 2023 weight management enhanced service

by Beth Gault
18 April 2023

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GP practices who want to participate in the weight management enhanced service this financial year need to sign up by 28 April.

The service, which was first introduced two years ago, runs from 1 April 2023 to 31 March 2024. As part of the scheme, practices need to refer patients who are on their QOF Obesity Register and are ‘ready to make behavioural changes to appropriate weight management programmes’.

However, the overall funding for the service this has been cut from £11.5m last year to £7.2m this year. The pot allocated in 2021/22 was £20m.

Practices will be entitled to £11.50 per referral, but the number of referrals practices can make has also been reduced to a minimum of 12% of the number of patients on their Obesity Register as of 31 March 2020. This is down from a minimum of 20% last year.

Practices will be told of their referral allocation once they have signed up to the service.

‘There is good evidence to suggest that general practice plays a pivotal role in the identification of people living with obesity, discussion of the associated health issues and facilitating access to weight management services’, the Enhanced Service Specification on weight management 2023/24 says. 

‘There is also evidence to suggest that clinicians proactively offering weight management support is acceptable to patients living with obesity,’ it adds.

In a guide on how to maximise income from the service, non-clinical partner and strategic manager at Kenilworth and Warwick PCN, Ryan Smith said practices that had signed up to the scheme previously may not have made as much progress as they would have hoped given the additional pressures they have faced. 

He added: ‘The extension is therefore good news for practices keen to maximise income from this service.’

Mr Smith’s guide explains the main points of the programme and includes six tips on how to increase referral rates and, therefore, earnings. Read the full guide here.