Ozempic for Obesity: Check you’re eligible for the NHS approved obesity medication

Jun 19, 2023

Obesity has become a major health concern in the UK, and millions of individuals suffer from this condition. It is a leading cause of chronic health diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Weight management is essential to prevent these health problems, and the NHS has been making efforts to provide individuals with effective treatments.

Ozempic is a new drug that has been shown to be effective in weight management, and the NHS has recently made it available to eligible individuals. Ozempic is also known as Semaglutide and Wegovy.

A Solution for Obesity: Ozempic NHS Eligibility

Ozempic is a prescription medication that contains semaglutide, a type of GLP-1 receptor agonist. The drug has been approved by the NHS for use in individuals with a BMI of 35 or above, or a BMI of 30 or above with other weight-related health issues such as diabetes or high blood pressure. Certain ethnicities may also be eligible at a lower BMI as the risk obesity presents to them is greater even at a lower BMI.

Ozempic works by helping individuals feel fuller for longer, which reduces their overall food intake.

The NHS has recognized the importance of providing effective weight management treatments to individuals with obesity and has approved Ozempic for this purpose. This is a positive development, as it provides individuals with an additional option for weight management in addition to diet and exercise.

Unleashing the Potential: Accessing Ozempic for Weight Management

Individuals who are interested in accessing Ozempic for weight management can do so by consulting their healthcare provider. The drug is available on prescription, and individuals must meet the eligibility criteria set by NICE and access it when referred to a specialist weight-loss clinic.

What is a specialist weight-loss clinic?

In practise, these are specialist weight management clinics that offer non-surgical intensive medical management through a team approach.

This team comprises of:

  • A doctor with special interest in obesity (physician or GP) 
  • Obesity and weight-loss specialist nurses
  • Obesity and weight-loss specialist dietitians
  • Psychological support
  • Specialist exercise therapists/physiotherapists

The weightloss clinic will assess an individual’s weight and health issues before recommending Ozempic as a treatment option.

For those who are eligible, Ozempic can be a valuable tool in weight management. The drug helps individuals feel fuller for longer, which can lead to weight loss over time. It is important to note that Ozempic is not a magic solution for weight loss, and it should be used in conjunction with a healthy diet and regular exercise.

Eligibility Criteria for availability on the NHS as set out by NICE

Ozempic is recommended as an option for weight management, including weight loss and weight maintenance, alongside a reducedcalorie diet and increased physical activity in adults, only if:

  1. It is used for a maximum of 2 years, and within a specialist weight management service providing multidisciplinary management of overweight or obesity (including but not limited to tiers 3 and 4), and they have at least 1 weight-related comorbidity and:
    - a body mass index (BMI) of at least 35.0 kg/m2
    - a BMI of 30.0 kg/m2 to 34.9 kg/m2 and meet the criteria for referral to specialist weight management services in NICE’s guideline on obesity.
  2. Use lower BMI thresholds (usually reduced by 2.5 kg/m2) for people fromSouth Asian, Chinese, other Asian, Middle Eastern, Black African or African-Caribbean family backgrounds.

The UK Government has announced more funding for community led weight loss clinics

A £40 million two-year experiment announced on the 7th June 2023 will provide more obese individuals access to the latest and most effective obesity medications to reduce NHS waiting lines via these multidisciplinary weight loss clinics.

Clinical research show that Ozempic can help patients lose up to 15% of their body weight after one year when used with diet, exercise, and behavioural support.

Obesity is a main cause of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and cancer, costing the NHS £6.5 billion annually. Obesity caused almost 1 million NHS hospital admissions in 2019/2020.

The £40 million trial will examine how specialised weight management services outside of hospitals can make authorised medications safer for more individuals. This involves investigating how GPs may properly prescribe these medications and how the NHS can provide assistance in the community or online, supporting the government’s goal of reducing hospital burden and giving people access to treatment where it’s most convenient.

The NHS Long Term Plan aims to reduce obesity, which can cause major health issues and common malignancies and put a strain on NHS resources.

This pilot will test whether pharmaceutical therapies may help obese patients lose weight safely and successfully in non-hospital settings.

Key Questions for your healthcare provider:

  • Am I eligible for referral to a specialist weight loss clinic?
  • If not what other channels are available to me to get help with losing weight?
  • What are the potential benefits versus the risks of using a weightloss medication?
  • Apart from obesity how will my other risk factors for cardiovascular disease be addressed and how can I help reduce my risk of a heart attack or a stroke?



Dr Kirsten Protherough,  Founder of Healthacate®

Useful References:

Positive ageing post detailing NHS screening programmes, assessing and future proofing your cardiovascular health with QRISK3

Preventing cancer, heart attacks and strokes with the NHS screening programmes and QRISK3 | Home Visit (homevisithealthcare.co.uk)

Semaglutide for managing overweight and obesity (nice.org.uk)

NHS Tiered Care Weight Management Pathway – Obesity Empowerment Network (oen.org.uk)

New drugs pilot to tackle obesity and cut NHS waiting lists – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

The 1 day Healthacate® Positive Ageing ChallengeFit & Fab at Any Age: NHS’s Exercise Tips!

Fit & Fab at Any Age: NHS’s Exercise Tips!



Dr Kirsten Protherough Admin

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