NHS obesity strategy criticised as services are cut

And fast food makes up more than half the town’s options for eating out – like many deprived areas.

But Tier 3 obesity treatment here, essentially the final frontier for the most serious patients before surgery, is no longer available to NHS patients in Rotherham. And the service is on the decline around the country.

Joanne Keeling weighed nearly 30 stone when she joined the Rotherham Institute for Obesity. With their therapy, nutritional and physical support she lost five stone.

Her weight loss was on track to be life changing but when the clinic’s NHS funding was cut in 2017, so were many of Joanne’s hopes.

“I haven’t had children because of my weight,” she explains. “I do want to do something about it and I know I can. But mentally it upsets you… People can be cruel.”

Since losing the service, Joanne has since regained three stone – and clearly lost confidence.

She now only has access to a mainstream gym which she finds intimidating. And meeting doctors who don’t know her can be upsetting.

She recalls one instance: “The first thing he said was, ‘I am going to need to mention straight away that you are morbidly obese’.

“Then he said to me: ‘You’re 37… either lose weight now or don’t bother…to be honest I’m surprised you’re not dead already’.”

Joanne says her obesity has happened over a long period time and is linked to mental health issues. She says talking therapy at the clinic was what helped her most. And what she really misses.

But now the Rotherham Institute for Obesity is only available to the lucky few who can afford its £400 six-month plan.

One patient, Alan, has lost eight stone at the clinic: “I’m 68 now, I don’t think I’d have seen 55/60,” he says.

Another man Wayne has shed 14 stone with its help. “I was one of the lucky few that went through the system…my diabetes went into remission.”

Dr Matt Capehorn who runs the clinic says they helped 7,000 NHS patients collectively lose 33.7 tonnes over 8 years, prior to the cuts.

“We see patients every day that need a service like this. So it’s very frustrating as an NHS doctor that now I can’t help those patients.

“We know within one generation obesity, the direct and indirect costs, could potentially bankrupt the NHS because the projections are that it will cost £50bn a year. And this was a service that only cost £300,000 a year to run.”

In a statement, the Department of Health said: “We are committed to reducing obesity and the harm that it causes.

“That’s why NHS England’s Diabetes Prevention Programme will double as part of the upcoming long-term plan for the NHS – over 200,000 people every year across England will have access to targeted weight loss support and advice.

“We’re also helping people to live healthier day-to-day lives – as part of our obesity plan we’ve encouraged manufacturers to cut sugar from half the drinks available in shops and are consulting on plans to introduce calorie labels in restaurants.”

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VW plans to sell electric Tesla rival for less than $23,000: source

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) intends to sell electric cars for less than 20,000 euros ($22,836) and protect German jobs by converting three factories to make Tesla (TSLA.O) rivals, a source familiar with the plans said.

VW and other carmakers are struggling to adapt quickly enough to stringent rules introduced after the carmaker was found to have cheated diesel emissions tests, with its chief executive Herbert Diess warning last month that Germany’s auto industry faces extinction.

Plans for VW’s electric car, known as “MEB entry” and with a production volume of 200,000 vehicles, are due to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting on Nov. 16, the source said.

Another vehicle, the I.D. Aero, will be built in a plant currently making the VW Passat, a mid-sized sedan, the source said.

The Wolfsburg-based carmaker, which declined to comment on the plans, is also expected to discuss far-reaching alliances with battery cell manufacturer SK Innovation (096770.KS) and rival Ford (F.N), the source said.

The November 16 strategy meeting will discuss Volkswagen’s transformation plan to shift from being Europe’s largest maker of combustion engine vehicles into a mass producer of electric cars, another source familiar with the deliberations said.

VW’s strategy shift comes as cities start to ban diesel engine vehicles, forcing carmakers to think of new ways to safeguard 600,000 German industrial jobs, of which 436,000 are at car companies and their suppliers.

An electric van, the ID Buzz, is due to be built at VW’s plant in Hannover, where its T6 Van is made, the source said.

To free up production capacity for electric cars in Hannover, VW’s transporter vans could be produced at a Ford (F.N) plant in Turkey, if German labor unions, who hold half the seats on VW’s board of directors, agree, the source added.

EXPLORATORY TALKS

VW and Ford are in “exploratory talks” about an alliance to develop self-driving and electric vehicles and to complement each other’s global production and sales footprints, Reuters reported last month.

Ford has strong sales and profits in the United States thanks to its exposure to the lucrative pickup truck segment, while Volkswagen dominates the market for passenger cars in Europe.

The companies are considering cooperation deals in the areas of commercial, electric and autonomous vehicles, although a final agreement will unlikely be announced at the November 16 strategy meeting at Volkswagen, the second source said.

The details of a cooperation deal with Ford may take until the end of the year to be finalised, the second source said. The German carmaker will mainly focus on debating the merits of converting its VW factories in Emden, Zwickau and Hanover, which all build combustion-engined cars, to electric ones under the plans being discussed by the board of directors, the source said.

Carmakers in Germany agreed on Thursday to spend up to 3,000 euros ($3,430) per vehicle to add more efficient exhaust filtering systems to cut diesel emissions, but failed to prevent bans on diesel vehicles by Cologne and Bonn.

EU lawmakers have agreed to seek a 35 percent cut in car emissions by 2030 after a U.N. report called for dramatic steps to slow global warming. Diess said to cut average fleet emissions of carbon dioxide in Europe by 30 percent by 2030, VW needs to raise its share offully electric vehicles to 30 percent of new car sales.

The shift from combustion engines to electric cars would also cost 14,000 jobs at VW by 2020 as it takes less time to build an electric car than a conventional one and because jobs will shift overseas to battery manufacturers. In Europe there are about 126 plants making combustion engines, employing 112,000 people. The largest such plant inEurope is VW’s in Kassel.

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VW plans Tesla rival electric car for less than 20,000 euros: source

FRANKFURT (Reuters) – Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) will offer a Tesla-rivalling electric car costing below 20,000 euros ($22,836) and convert three of its factories into electric car plants as part of a far-reaching overhaul, a source familiar with the deliberations told Reuters.

The electric car, known as “MEB entry” is being readied for a production volume of 200,000 vehicles, while a mid sized sedan, the I.D. Aero, will have a production volume of 100,000 units, the person said.

The plans are due to be discussed at a supervisory board meeting held on November 16, when the Wolfsburg, Germany-based carmaker is also expected to discuss far-reaching alliances with battery cell manufacturer SK Innovation (096770.KS) and with rival Ford (F.N), the source further said.

Volkswagen’s German factories in Emden, Zwickau and Hanover will build electric cars as part of the overhaul, the source said.

Volkswagen declined to comment.

($1 = 0.8758 euros)

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Softbank's Son says to carry out responsibility to Saudi people

TOKYO (Reuters) – SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) CEO Masayoshi Son condemned the killing of a journalist by Saudi security forces, but defended the firm’s financial ties with Saudi Arabia, saying SoftBank will continue carrying out its responsibility to that country’s citizens.

“It is true that a horrible incident happened. On the other hand, we have a responsibility towards the Saudi people, and we must carry out our responsibility rather than turn our backs on them,” Son said on Monday.

Son was presenting SoftBank’s June-September earnings results, appearing before reporters for the first time since Jamal Khashoggi, a journalist critical of the Saudi state, was murdered early last month in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul

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