Despite the news that the number of people undergoing surgery to help them lose weight on the NHS has increased ten-fold in seven years, leading provider of weight loss surgery, The Hospital Group are still seeing a huge boom in the demand for bariatric procedures.
While the report by The British medical Journal found operations such as gastric banding and bypasses rose from 238 a year to more than 2,543 in 2007 on the NHS, The Hospital Group reported that they have performed 5,277 gastric operations in the last three years alone.
Along with surgery partner Why Go Abroad, the huge number of operations booked with The Group reflects a growing trend of people forced into going private in their quest for a perfect, healthier body as the NHS buckles under the strain of demand.
According to official guidelines, patients should only be offered obesity surgery if they have a body mass index of 35 or over and are at risk of serious conditions such as diabetes and cannot lose weight by themselves. These guidelines have caused worry amongst specialists who say that the wrong people are receiving weight loss surgery whilst others, who are in desperate need of the surgery, are missing out on its benefits.
David Ross, Chief Executive of The Hospital Group said: “This latest news indicates that the NHS are finally realising the true extent of the benefits of bariatric surgery. Despite this, the guidelines mean that people who are in desperate need of a gastric band, balloon or bypass are not eligible, or face long waiting lists.
“Last year, our Real Cost of Obesity report showed that being overweight can have a significantly negative effect on quality of life, with 45 per cent of those polled admitting their weight prevented them from playing with their children, while one in 10 of those polled said their weight had held them back in the workplace.
“At The Hospital Group, people can be assured of a dedicated, professional service, with guaranteed results and a limited waiting time.”