NHS gastric band surgery to rise

Overweight man

The NHS in Scotland is to increase the amount of weight loss surgery it carries out, BBC Scotland can reveal.

Extra operations are to be offered at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Clydebank, Glasgow.

It will provide bariatric surgery – procedures to fit gastric bands and stomach stapling to restrict the amount of food people can digest.

The move comes after Scottish ministers announced plans in February to tackle the country’s obesity "timebomb".

NHS guidelines state that anyone who is so overweight that their life is at risk should be offered weight loss surgery, such as a gastric band, to restrict the amount of food they can eat.

In reality, however, severely obese people in Scotland face a long wait, if they ever get surgery at all.

First referrals

Last year more than 250 people were referred for weight loss surgery, but only 165 operations were carried out.

Most Scottish health boards do not offer it and the few that do often say they are overwhelmed by demand.

The Golden Jubilee Hospital will announce on Tuesday that it is to start performing gastric band operations.

Golden Jubilee Hospital

A total of 60 procedures will be carried out next year for patients from the west of Scotland although health boards anywhere in Scotland will be able to refer patients in future.

In February, Scottish ministers announced plans to work with the food industry, business and schools to try to tackle Scotland’s obesity "timebomb".

The move came after a report suggested 40% of the population could be classed as obese by 2030.

Ministers believe the condition is a huge threat to Scotland’s future.

Obesity is thought to cost the NHS £475m a year, but projected estimates state this could rise to £3bn a year in two decades.

The Golden Jubilee Hospital was built as a private hospital in 1994 by Health Care International.

It was purchased by the NHS in 2002 at a cost of £37.5m to help reduce waiting times for treatment.

As well as that specialised function, it is also home to the West of Scotland Heart and Lung Centre.

This article is from the BBC News website. © British Broadcasting Corporation, The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites.

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