Rise in obesity sees 20 people a month go under the knife for life-saving surgery
People in Nottingham are twice as likely to be admitted to hospital with obesity related problems – higher than anywhere else in England.
One city clinic has also revealed that around 20 overweight patients a month are opting to have weight-loss surgery which can include having three-quarters of their stomach removed.
But Nottingham nutrition coach Susan Hart says gastric surgery should be “a last resort”.
Recent statistics show that obesity-related admissions are up by a third in the last year.
Private clinic Gateway Health in Mansfield Road, Woodthorpe, says there has been a significant increase in the last year of people wanting gastric surgery – seeing 20 clients a month, 17 of whom will be suitable for treatment.
Nottingham Woodthorpe Hospital where they see around 20 obese clients wanting surgery a month.
Surgery includes fitting gastric bands, which restricts the amount of food the stomach can hold by placing an inflatable silicone band around the upper part of the organ and gastric sleeves, which removes a large portion of the stomach.
Andrew Kemp, chief executive of the clinic, told the Post: “We have seen a significant increase since the middle of last year and we are not marketing or doing anything different than before.
“I wish I did know why. The trend across the country is pretty flat but in our area it seems to be more prolific.
He predicts that instead of being used as treatment, such surgery will become preventative. “Ten to fifteen years from now we will be doing gastric bands to stop people from gaining massive amounts of weight.
“We can see there is a significant benefit for them, why wait till people are really sick to have them. It is a bit like a smoker with a nicotine patch. It does not stop you smoking but it takes away the craving.
“The gastric band will help take away some of those cravings for food.”
He said the private clinic used to see on average 10 patients a month, but that had now doubled. The surgery is usually undertaken on someone who has a body mass index (BMI) of 35 and over.
Mr Kemp believes the food we eat has not become any fatter, but that people are exercising less than they did in the 1950s.
According to official NHS statistics, in Nottingham, there were 3,450 admissions to hospital in 2015-16 where obesity was a factor. This was a rate of 1,849 per 100,000 people, 1.9 times the England rate of 995 admissions per 100,000.
The number of admissions with a primary or secondary diagnosis of obesity has also risen 33 per cent in a year from 3,782 in 2014-15 to more than 5,000..
Potentially life-threatening obesity, which may qualify a person for weight-loss surgery, is defined by the NHS as someone having a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or above or having a BMI of 35 or above and having another serious health condition that could be improved if they lose weight, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.
The Post contacted the Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, which said they no longer provide gastric surgery and that clients are directed to Derby hospitals.
Del Singh, 54, whose family lived in Forest Fields, and whose son attended Nottingham Trent University, has had three quarters of his stomach removed.
Mr Singh, now living in Peterborough, was 25 and a half stone and was eating a high fat diet of curries, snicker bars and crisps. The 5ft 7in IT consultant was also spending most of his time behind a desk.
The married father-of-five, who now weighs 14 stone, told the Post: “I was given the brutal truth by a company doctor who said you are at massive risk of diabetes or stroke – if you continue you might not live to your 60s.
“I tried lots of diets and I lost two to three stone but I was absolutely miserable as sin.”
He said he got in touch with the Nottingham Woodthorpe Hospital, where it cost him £10,000 to have a gastric sleeve, which means he cannot eat “unlimited portions” and the procedure is “not reversible”.
“I am not costing the NHS a bean. I was on blood pressure and cholesterol meds and may have gone on diabetes meds and would have been on them for life.
“It was about my health and quality of life and longevity. I am now running and cycling and the surgery has changed my life.”
He believes the influx of patients having surgery is because it is “easy and accessible” and the cost isn’t as high as it used to be.
Nutrition coach Susan Hart, 54, from West Bridgford, says the life-changing surgery should be a last resort but that in the long-term it does have the potential to save the NHS lots of money.
She said: “I think it is a last resort. It should not be the first thing someone should think about and that all their problems will be solved by having your stomach stapled. It is a life-long commitment.
“In the long term it can save the NHS money because they reduce their risk of coronary heart disease and type 2 diabetes. I would rather people go down the diet and nutrition route but for some people gastric surgery is a last resort – they are at a major point of reducing their life expectancy and need a quick fix and nutritional advice, they won’t want that.”
Source: Nottingham Post