02 July 2019
Since 2014, consultant bariatric surgeon Simon Monkhouse and his specialist team at Gatwick Park Hospital have helped 492 people to lose a total of around 3,444 stone – that’s averaging seven stone per person.
'It was wonderful to see such happy faces and to hear how losing weight has changed their lives. Behind the total weight loss is the personal victories these people have achieved since surgery' said Mr Monkhouse. 'For many it has given them confidence to enjoy their social and work lives once again, the energy to take part in family life and new activities, and, importantly, they are healthier as weight loss surgery can reduce or reverse medical conditions such as diabetes.'
The patients came to the hospital with personal stories of years of dieting, depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and self-hatred.
At the anniversary get-together, they spoke about the number of different diets they had tried - some people citing more than 10 different types from cabbage diet to prescribed drugs - in a desperate attempt to lose weight.
'It goes beyond desperation when you are trying to lose weight' says Charlene Tullett, 40, from Brighton, who has lost 10 stone since her gastric bypass operation two years ago. 'And people treat you differently when you are overweight. I felt at work I had to prove myself even more than my colleagues and I hated my job. Since the operation I have a new job, I feel healthier and happier and am now using my pedometer to challenge myself to walk 200 miles a month.'
Francesca, 34, of Crawley has lost eight stone since her gastric bypass operation 14 months ago and says: 'I had been trying to lose weight all my life and tried all the diets going. I was so sick and tired of being overweight and knew I would struggle to get pregnant if I didn’t do something about it.' She is now expecting her first baby in October.
One of Spire Gatwick Park’s newest patients, Dean Whiting, 46, from Horley, had a gastric sleeve operation two weeks ago and, thanks also to the strict two-week liver reduction diet which every patient must undergo before surgery, he has already lost three stone.
'I had tried most diets but every time I put weight back on plus VAT,' he jokes. 'Even in such a short time since the surgery I feel more invigorated, more motivated and I no longer have pain in my knees or my back.'
Spire Gatwick Park Hospital’s weight loss surgery team includes a surgeon, a bariatric specialist nurse, a psychologist and a dietician and together they assess every patient to see if they can proceed with surgery. The patients are then supported before and after the operation for up to two years, both emotionally and with practical advice. The weight loss team is contactable 24/7 and patients are invited to become lifelong members of the weight loss support group which meets regularly.
A closed Facebook group for the Spire Gatwick Park weight loss patients now has around 400 members who support and encourage each other and share tips such as healthy dinner ideas.
'It’s not just about the operation but the journey afterwards - the support from the weight loss team and the other patients is amazing,' says Kelly, 42, from Reigate, who has lost 5 stone 4lb since her gastric sleeve operation last September. 'I feel like I am living life again.'
There is also a patient-led walking group and, for the first time, a team of eight tackled Race for Life at Epsom Downs on June 23.
'The past five years has seen the patient-led support growing enormously. I feel privileged to see the camaraderie between this amazing group of people and know that their support of each other is an important addition to the care we give as a specialist team,' adds Mr Monkhouse. 'Weight loss surgery is not an easy decision and patients have tried everything before they come to us. They then must work very hard both before and after the operation - it is not a quick fix. But to see their happy faces and hear their stories is evidence that weight loss surgery can change lives forever, leaving people feeling healthier and happier.'
If you wish to seek advice from our Weight Loss Surgery Team or book a consultation with Mr Monkhouse, please call on 01293 778 906 to find out more.