One of the UK’s leading bariatric surgeons has expressed serious concern about the extremely poor levels of aftercare being provided to many weight loss surgery patients by private hospitals who offer ‘cut-price’ surgery both here and abroad.
Consultant laparoscopic and bariatric surgeon David Kerrigan, the Royal College of Surgeons’ representative who advised the government on the NICE obesity guidelines in use today, said the lack of follow up care provided by some hospitals was ‘shocking’ and could put patients’ lives at risk.
“I have long been concerned about hospitals who in effect abandon patients after surgery to keep costs down and make a bigger margin then just turn a blind eye when things go wrong,” said Mr Kerrigan, former secretary and founder member of the British Obesity Surgery Society.
“It takes a great deal of money and commitment to put the resources in place to allow patients 24/7 access to the surgeon and his team and provide specialist medical advice at every step of the way following bariatric surgery.
“What I strongly object to is the way in which certain private hospitals offer surgery on the cheap at the expense of the aftercare and the patients never see the surgeon again.
“In my opinion, it’s absolutely vital that the surgeon who operated is directly involved in the patient’s aftercare. Some hospitals simply have an advisor or a nurse at the end of the phone and it’s just not acceptable.
“Patients often think they’re getting a good deal but sadly cut-price weight loss surgery generally means cut-down care,” adds Mr Kerrigan, who is also medical director of Gravitas, a network of weight loss surgeons in the UK and Ireland committed to working to the highest ethical and professional standards in bariatric surgery.
“Patients need to be cautioned strongly about what they are letting themselves in for. Adequate medically supervised aftercare is essential to ensure that they receive not just a good result, but a safe one.”