I will issue my usual proviso that this is not a course of action I would recommend.

There’s a dental practice in deepest darkest Wales that has sent letters to all its patients, saying that if you’re a bit lardy you won’t get treated. The reasoning, and it is reasonable as well as logical, is this. The chairs, which roll in at a rather pricey seven and a half grand apiece, have a manufacturer’s weight limit, or SWL if you’re smugly in the know about these things, of 20 stone. 280 lbs in old money, or 128 kilos in new money.

Apparently people had been ignoring warning notices. I’m not too surprised by that, since nobody wants to admit to being a salad dodger. I can see the dentists’ point of view. Bust one of the chairs and they’re seven and a half gees in the hole, and likely a hefty legal bill and compensation payout. That would be an expensive day out, and they need to replace the chair as well to earn enough to fork out the insurance premiums, which would go through the roof.

The area where the practice is was home to Georgia Davis, who went into the ring at 60 stone (that’s, errrmmm, 840 lbs) and last April had to be winched out of her flat with a crane. Apparently larger built people are difficult to work on; they also often have difficulty getting in and out of the chairs, and staff injure themselves helping them. The surgery is careful to state they’re not lecturing the bulkier members of the public, but they are safeguarding the health of their staff. I think that’s not a bad idea at all.

There is a splendid irony here. If you’re packing a bit more avoirdupois than you should, it may be a diet of sweeties, chocolate, biscuits, cola, and other junk isn’t helping your teeth too much.

Predictably there has been what The Sun  might refer to as a ‘storm of protest.’ Somebody who runs a Slimming World weight loss group locally says this is an NHS service, and it’s wrong to discriminate against people who are overweight. There are two aspects here. One is that there really would be an outcry if a heavy patient got injured because of an equipment failure. Two, the NHS is already refusing to treat patients for certain conditions if they refuse to lose weight.

Three aspects. If you’re 280 pounds, you’re not going to be unaware that you’re no sylph. You’d surely be aware of this when the practice refers you to hospital for treatment where they have the necessary equipment. They’re not saying ‘We won’t treat you,’ they’re saying ‘We can’t treat you safely.’ That’s a whole different story.

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