A grandmother-of-two was turned down by an NHS weight-loss programme – because she was ‘too fat’.
Belinda Clayton, who weighs 16 stones and wears a size 20, tried to apply for a weight-loss scheme through her GP but was stunned to be told it was only for the ‘moderately overweight.'
The 61-year-old, who suffers fatigue due to M.E, described her rejection from the scheme like a ‘slap in the face with a fish.’
Mrs Clayton from, Binchester, near Bishop Auckland, County Durham, said: ‘I was told about ‘Change 4 Life’ by a friend about a month ago. She said that she loved it and it was so successful.
‘I went to my GP in Bishop Auckland and we filled in the form and weighed me and he faxed it through and said they would be in touch.
‘They rang me up and initially the lady from ‘Change 4 Life’ was quite chatty and encouraging.
‘Then she said that my BMI is too high. She said they only offered the scheme for people with a BMI between 30-35 and that mine was too high.
‘I said “so that means I’m too fat for your scheme?”. She kept trying to get me to do an exercise scheme, but in the end I said “you can’t help me” and she said “no, we can’t”.'
To add insult to injury, Belinda found out her BMI, according to the NHS website, is 35.07 – which meant she was only just outside the limit for help.
Belinda was not told her BMI, but learned afterwards that it was just outside the limit for help.
She said: ‘The lady did say it was a very close, but 35.07 sounds pretty incredible, especially given that I have long-standing health issues.
‘It’s getting so silly now that it’s almost making me laugh. But it’s so frustrating, at the end of the day it was a scheme that I really wanted to be a part of.
‘I still think it’s a good scheme. This is ludicrous though, it’s absolutely bonkers.
‘It’s some criteria that’s been fixed so firmly, it’s just red tape. The girl I spoke to was so rigid it was like talking to a brick wall.'
The 12-week course, Mrs Clayton wanted to join includes group sessions with advice on subjects from diet to activity and changing old behaviours.
It is part of the local PCT's contribution to the Change 4 Life programme organised by the Department of Health.
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