Health & FitnessIn the Media

NHS Slimming operations have doubled in one year

Official figures show that there were 4,619 bariatric surgery operations in England in 2008 – a 51% increase on the previous year.

The official NICE (National Institute of Clinical Excellence) guidelines state that anyone with a BMI of 40 or higher qualifies for ‘bariatric’ surgery. That’s 1.2 million people in the UK who already qualify and the numbers are steadily increasing. Hospitals and surgeons simply can’t cope with the number of people who are eligible for this drastic surgery. (Call me old fashioned, but I kind of think that my stomach, large intestine and small intestine are all there and the length they are for a reason?!)

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) 2005 article found that, from a total of 16 155 patients who underwent bariatric procedures (mean age, 47.7 years; 75.8% women), the rates of 30-day, 90-day, and 1-year mortality were 2.0%, 2.8%, and 4.6%, respectively. Men had higher rates of early death than women (3.7% vs 1.5%, 4.8% vs 2.1%, and 7.5% vs 3.7% at 30 days, 90 days, and 1 year, respectively). Mortality rates were greater for those aged 65 years or older compared with younger patients (4.8% vs 1.7% at 30 days, 6.9% vs 2.3% at 90 days, and 11.1% vs 3.9% at 1 year).

So, up to 11% of patients for ’stomach’ surgery weight loss operations are dead within a year. And the NHS would rather fund such operations than rethink our public health weight loss advice. Couldn’t we at least try suggesting that people just start eating real food and stop eating processed food and see if this helps?!