Obesity is not adequately prepared for in NHS, says report

26 July 2011

A report has found the NHS is feebly prepared for the needs of obese patients, lacking dedicated staff training and equipment across the British healthcare system.

The study, published online in the Postgraduate Medical Journal, has potential ramifications for those needing drastic weight loss surgery. The information surveyed incident reports relating to obesity from 2005 to 2008 and found that 389 safety incidents out of 555 were related to weight problems.

However, the majority of occurrences related to NHS infrastructure (213), of which a third were caused by equipment either being unavailable or broken, "suggesting there is inadequate provision in place for the care of obese patients", the authors wrote.

"It's not their fault - most practice nurses and GPs have simply never been equipped with the specialist skills and knowledge for today's needs," said Professor Tony Leeds, an expert at the specialist obesity clinic at Central Middlesex Hospital, writing on the BBC News health site.

The news is likely to increase pressure on the government following another recent report from the Royal College of Physicians, which presented similar findings and outlined healthcare professionals' best practice for obesity.

Posted by Edward Bartel.

1 Booth, C M A, et al. "Patient safety incidents associated with obesity: a review of reports to the National Patient Safety Agency and recommendations for hospital practice". Postgraduate Medical Journal. Monday July 25th 2011.

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