38% of people living in the South East of England are unhappy with their weight and 1 in 5 people have been told by their GP to lose weight, according to the latest survey by Spire Gatwick Park Hospital. Far from being apathetic about their weight, the majority of people recognise that weight loss would boost confidence and improve their quality of life.
Government initiatives to reverse the tide of obesity are seemingly having an impact in making people become more conscious about their weight. While it is predominantly the 45-64 year age group who are being advised to lose weight, it appears to be younger people who are less confident about their weight and more likely to opt for surgery.
Almost a quarter (23%) of 25-34 year olds would opt to have weight loss surgery as a first line of treatment, with almost half of them seeing it as an easier alternative to long-term dieting and exercise. Only 60% would actively seek GP approval before having surgery.
Mr Chris Pring, Consultant General Surgeon at Spire Gatwick Park Hospital comments: “There is a lot more awareness of the fantastic results that can be achieved through weight loss surgery and I am witnessing an increase in the number of younger people being referred. However, surgery shouldn’t be seen as a panacea for all things. The risks and benefits of all treatment options need to be discussed in a clear and concise way by specialists who have a proven interest and track record in managing obesity. The success of weight loss surgery depends upon the whole package of care that is delivered by a team that includes your GP.”
While 55.6% of people are sympathetic towards those who are morbidly obese and have surgery as a last resort, over a third (35%) of people wouldn’t want the NHS to pay for it. With NHS resources already stretched and given the current squeeze on public spending, the attitude amongst people surveyed is that people should pay for their own treatment.
Mr Pring says: “For patients with morbid obesity, surgery offers the best treatment. The NHS doesn’t currently have capacity to cope with the demand. Not only does the surgeon need to be properly trained, but all of the elements of the care pathway need to be in place. This demands a huge allocation of NHS resources which I fear cannot be met.”
Spire Gatwick Park offers a full bariatric surgery service, including both gastric banding and bypass procedures. To find out more, call 01293 778906 or complete our online enquiry form