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Live a healthier lifestyle, live longer and help us save £6m, says West Norfolk CCG

West Norfolk CCG says stopping smoking can help you live longer and save the NHS millions. Picture: Liz Reynolds

West Norfolk CCG says stopping smoking can help you live longer and save the NHS millions. Picture: Liz Reynolds

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Live a healthier lifestyle - and you could live longer and help us save millions.

That’s the message from the West Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group, which believes improving the lifestyles of people living in the area could save £6m.

West Norfolk people are among the top 10pc nationally for levels of morbid obesity and smoking, with 26pc of the population in one or the other, or even both of these categories.

Local men live five years less than the rest of the population partially as a result of these factors.

The CCG plans and commissions health services on behalf of 174,000 patients in West Norfolk.

It says there is clear medical evidence that smokers and people who are overweight risk developing further complications. West Norfolk CCG chair Paul Williams, a GP based in Upwell, said: “Over the years I have seen lots of people not do as well following surgery as they expected, a lot of the time that is because of complications around the surgery due to their weight or smoking.

“I would encourage anyone to do their best to lose weight and stop smoking before undergoing elective surgery.”

Help with losing weight or stopping smoking are available via GPs and also by self-referral.

The CCG will offer support to people referred for surgery to help them lose weight and stop smoking before an operation, which will improve the outcomes for the patient and save up to £4m.

The CCG is also asking people to think about their needs when they need help with minor ailments. Seeing a pharmacist and buying over the counter medications for minor ailments instead of taking a GP appointment to get a prescription could save the local NHS £2m and reduce GP workloads. A 38p packet of paracetamol costs tax payers £1.88 to prescribe.

Dr Williams, said. “We will shortly be starting the hay fever season where lots of us will experience sneezing, a runny nose and itchy eyes due to pollen levels in the air.

“The majority of people can control their symptoms by using simple drugs available over the counter like anti-histamine tablets and steroid nasal sprays.”

For advice on quitting smoking call 0800 0854 113 or visit www.smokefreenorfolk.nhs.uk.

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