Wegovy™ access in South East London – a further update

11 Apr 2024
NHS South East London

Wegovy™ (semaglutide) is a new drug that was launched in the UK in September 2023.

The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) – the organisation that decides which treatments are made available on the NHS – has said that Wegovy™ should be used:

  • in the management of overweight or obesity in adults
  • as an option for some adults living with overweight or obesity alongside a reduced-calorie diet and increased physical activity and
  • as part of an NHS specialist weight management programme.

Clinicians in primary care, e.g. GPs, cannot directly prescribe Wegovy: a referral by the patients GP to a specialist weight management service would be the only way to access these medications.

A phased approach

At the time of its launch, the supply of Wegovy™ was unclear, but we have now confirmed that there is a limited and protected supply for the NHS. Due to limited availability and capacity of specialist weight management services across SE London, we have been working with all our providers, and NHS England, to consider options to support the roll out of Wegovy™. We have also been working to phase implementation in south east London.

To support this work SE London Integrated Care System has agreed to:

  • Begin implementation of Wegovy for the highest-need group; a decision reached by expert clinical agreement, across a 9-12 month period, starting in April 2024
  • Work through implementation plans for other groups, as we begin to roll out Wegovy™ to our highest-need group
  • For the longer term, SE London Integrated Care System is currently carrying out an Obesity services review, with an aim to improve the range and access to weight management services in SE London

The first phase of eligible patients are all currently accessing the highest level of specialist weight management services in our south east London hospitals.

We acknowledge that there will be challenges for patients accessing Wegovy due to this phased approach. We also recognise it can be extremely difficult for many people living with obesity to access the support they need. Because of this, we are working together across south east London to better support people living with obesity and overweight.

Alternative sources of support

The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme supports adults living with obesity who also have a diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension, or both, to manage their weight and improve their health. It is a 12-week online behavioural and lifestyle programme that people can access via a smartphone or computer with internet access. Each borough in SE London also has local weight management services. Both of these options can be accessed via referral from a GP.

We know there will be many people who do not qualify for the weight loss medications which may cause disappointment and / or exacerbate new and existing mental health and wellbeing issues. People may find NHS talking therapies a helpful source of support.

More information about obesity treatment is available via the NHS website here: Obesity – Treatment – NHS (www.nhs.uk)


SE London Integrated Care System is committed to improving access to services that support individuals to remain healthy and prevent long term health conditions. We are also committed to developing further options to make Wegovy™ available to more people in SE London in the longer-term.