Weight loss surgery is most common in North East England

Figures acquired by the BBC indicate that the North East of England sees NHS weight loss surgery occur twice as frequently as any other location in the UK.
In 2014-15, for the North East, 497 out of every one million people underwent a weight loss operation, well ahead of the next-highest area, London, which saw 228 operations. The East Midlands saw the fewest number of weight loss operations, with just 30 for every one million inhabitants.
The figures revealed that bariatric surgery – which can involve gastric bands or bypasses, and deals with treating and preventing obesity – is less common than it was three years ago, with NHS England claiming this is because of there being a more targeted approach to the growing obesity problem.
A decline in manual labour in the North East was highlighted as a factor for the high figures. Tam Fry, a spokesperson for the National Obesity Forum, said: “The North East has long had a problem with weight, some of which is down to the loss of heavy industry. Manual jobs in steel and mining have been lost, which means people either doing desk work or not exercising to replace the physical work they did.”
“Nationally, there is a disinclination to spend money on what doctors see as a social problem, even though there are benefits financially in cutting the number of people with type 2 diabetes. We would all like bariatric surgery to be paid for by a national fund.”
It has led to calls for weight loss operations to receive greater funding, with campaigners saying it actually saves the NHS money to perform surgery.
“The money we save the NHS for diabetes and blood pressure is amazing,” said Martin Wadley, a bariatric surgeon for the NHS. “Studies show that this type of surgery can pay for itself in two to three years.”

Related Articles