A couple walking in the park
This study will capture the voice of the people who access weight management services, and those who are unable to, or choose not to, in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly. Using an online survey followed by in-depth interviews, it will provide a clear understanding of how these services are currently used. The study will help to identify opportunities for improvement and identify good practice that could increase access and reduce inequalities of geography or socio-economic grouping. 
Almost two thirds of UK adults are now classified as overweight or obese, making this a substantial issue for our health services. Cornwall contains pockets of the highest proportion of overweight or obese adults in the South West, and overall is slightly above the national average.
Many of the increased risks to health through carrying excess weight can be reduced by weight loss. However, it is well recognised that sustained weight loss is difficult to achieve without support. Cornwall hosts services for individuals who are looking for support to manage a healthy bodyweight, although pathways into those services, and public perceptions of them, are not clearly understood.  
Given the geographically dispersed population of Cornwall, understanding barriers to access and potential solutions from the local population viewpoint is essential to inform future improvements. This study aims to investigate individuals' understanding of the current pathways into weight management support and weight loss treatments.  
ARC Project Lead: Dr Dawn Swancutt 
Lorraine Long, Senior Commissioning Manager, long term conditions and cancer, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board. 
Tracey Barter, Diabetes Project Manager, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly Integrated Care Board. 
Jeremy Gilbert, Consultant Practitioner in Obesity, Metabolic and Bariatric surgery, Royal Cornwall Hospital. 
Marc Neeld, Healthy Lifestyles Lead, Public Health Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 
Ruth Goldstein, Deputy Director of Public Health for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. 
Mr Steve Perry, external PPIE 
Our research aims to investigate the challenges faced by Cornish residents in accessing support to lose and maintain a healthy weight. 
Our primary objectives are:  
  1. To understand perceptions of current support and identify patient pathways into weight management services.  
  2. To capture feedback from residents on the benefits of services and any potential barriers to access. 
  3. To identify any specific access challenges for Cornish residents, including rural geography, health inequalities and the current care structure. 
A region wide survey giving us an oversight of residents' access and barriers to gaining support with weight issues is now completed and closed, with follow-up in-depth interviews with Cornish residents also concluded. The study team are now in the analysis and write up phase. Study findings will be available later this summer.
This research will help to understand how Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly services are currently accessed and identify how they may be made more accessible for everyone in the region. Findings will allow us to understand perceptions of current support and identify areas where improvements may help commissioning teams to recognise and select the most effective delivery methods for their residents. 
We also plan to share data widely with our health services research colleagues who have been frustrated by the limited data available in this field of research. We refer to the All Party Parliamentary Commission report of 2018 on obesity services who call for a national obesity strategy to strengthen existing services and replicate best practice across the country. Our findings will feed into this wider strategy by helping catalogue current practice so that we can begin to identify what ‘best practice’ should be shared.  
Respondents of the online survey that are interested in participating further in the study will be invited to join a researcher for an in-depth interview about their personal experience of seeking support or not seeking support with weight change.  
Through these interviews we will better understand the current service context from the point of view of key stakeholders. 

Plymouth-based project staff