Obesity Operations Perceived to be a Quick Fix



This report looks at obesity surgery and shares that only 29% of patients are given access to some form of psychological help before they make the decision to go ahead. It is a big decision that carries risk and enabling patients to really work through such a long term decision matters. Discussing through the choices and implications  before and having counselling afterwards about living with those implications and after affects matters.

Posted by Deborah Fields



A review into obesity surgery has found that it is commonly thought of as a quick fix without consideration for the risks that it can involve. 

The National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death looked at the care of 300 patients at both NHS and private hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. They found that many patients were not given enough time or information to be able to give a carefully considered decision without which they are no ready to consent to surgery.

“The review found only 29% of patients received psychological counselling prior to referral for surgery and in a quarter of cases consent forms did not contain the appropriate information about the surgery, including the risks involved.”

The watchdog also found that the care post-surgery for around one third of patients was not up to standard. Important factors such as post-surgery appointments with dietitians and psychologists were not offered. This accompanied by other reasons was given as a reason why nearly one fifth of patients needed to be readmitted to hospital within six months of their surgery. 

Although weight loss operation such as gastric bands have risen in popularity over recent years they are still extreme solutions to the problem. Over the past year over 8,000 of these surgeries were carried out by the NHS and this is expected to continue to rise by approx. 10% per year. 


The watchdog suggests that the professional associations and regulators draw up a code of conduct that would ensure all patients are receiving the best possible care. 

Report co-author Ian Martin said “Bariatric surgery is a radical procedure with considerable risks as well as benefits. It shouldn’t be undertaken without providing full information and support to patients. Consent often happens on the day the patient is admitted for surgery. This means there is no time for patients to reflect on their choices and have the opportunity to ask further questions about the risks and benefits of surgery before committing themselves to an operation.”

However the Royal College of Surgeons president Prof Norman Williams has said that there was already work being undertaken to ensure standards were being maintained That new clinical guidelines were issued earlier in the year and covered most of the issues raised by the watchdog and review.

Norman Williams said that bariatric surgery was proving to be an “incredibly successful and cost-effective treatment.” And that “We will continue to work together with other health professionals in this area of surgery to ensure high standards of care and patient safety are maintained.”


Original article can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19982591