A WEIGHT loss programme is set to rolled out across mid-Essex after one health centre recorded patients losing more than a metric tonne in weight.

Patients at Freshwell Health Centre in Finchingfield lost the weight after following a low carb weight loss programme run by GPs at the surgery.

The programme has been so successful that it has now been rolled out to the whole of the Colne Valley Primary Care Network.

This includes surgeries in Earls Colne, Coggeshall, Halstead, Finchingfield, the Hedinghams, Kelvedon and Feering.

Dr Ronan Fenton, system medical director for Mid and South Essex Health and Care Partnership, said: “In mid and south Essex, we want to ensure that as many people as possible live healthy fulfilled lives without needing health and care input.

“However, when they do need help, it’s there in the best way possible within the resource available.

“That way people live longer, and the Health and Care System lasts longer.

“The Colne Valley Low Carb Programme is a great example of local healthcare teams listening to and working with their local citizens to do exactly that - well done.”

The programme was devised by doctors Dr David Oliver and Dr Kim Andrews, alongside fellow GPs from Freshwell Health Centre.

It is hoped the programme, which is free to patients with a BMI of more than 25 register at the PCN’s surgeries, will tackle obesity which is associated with many diseases including type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and some types of cancer, such as breast cancer and bowel cancer, as well as stroke.

It can also lead to mental health conditions affecting the quality of life.

Dr Oliver said: “We know that excess weight can often lead to serious long-term conditions and with 63 per cent of Essex adults currently overweight or obese. This emerging crisis needs to be tackled before it becomes more critical.”

Programme participant, Viv Hamilton, said: “I was obese for 20 years and now I’ve lost five-and-a-half stone over 15 months.

“I feel great and I don’t get arthritis pain in my knee anymore. Low carb isn’t like traditional quick fix diets, it’s a lifestyle change that actually works and keeps working and for me it’s easier to stick to as my meals are delicious and I’m not starving myself.”

Programme results at 12 weeks show that 94 per cent of participants lost weight, with 60 per cent achieving greater than 5 per cent of their body weight loss, an average of 6kg per patient.

Freshwell Health Centre has also reduced its diabetes drug spend by £12,000 in the last year.

The programme also offers one-to-one telephone coaching sessions, up to six sessions over 12 weeks, to help people to focus on achieving their goals.

For more information, visit lowcarb freshwell.co.uk or colnevalleypcn.nhs.uk.