30 July 2020

Vital Element Of New Obesity Strategy Is Missing


Leading healthcare provider says bariatric surgery must be part of the plan.

Tony Veverka, CEO of Transform Hospital Group, one of the UK’s leading providers of bariatric surgeryhas responded to the Government’s newly launched obesity strategy, saying bariatric surgery is the missing part of the puzzle.  

Mr Veverka says: “We welcome the Government’s positive plan of action to help address the nation’s obesity crisis, and feel it has many beneficial elements, however we feel that it stops short of seriously tackling the issue for those already living with obesity. 

“It is important that as a general population we are encouraged and given guidance and information to make the right lifestyle choices to reduce our waistlines, however for those who are in the real ‘danger zone’ when it comes to their weight – where they are already at serious risk of life-threatening complications associated with obesity, many of which cost the NHS millions each year – more urgent action is needed.  

“We feel strongly that improved access to bariatric surgery should be a key part of the Government’s new strategy. Especially given the compelling evidence that obesity significantly increases the risk of death from Covid-19. 

At Transform Hospital Group we have seen a huge spike in weight loss intervention enquiries in recent weeks, indicating that lockdown has compounded the UK’s obesity crisis and that there is significant pent up need from patients who urgently require support. 

“Over a quarter of UK adults live with obesity – this is high-risk group that has been following the government’s advice to isolate and, in some cases, shield completely throughout the pandemic. In many cases these individuals have become trapped in their own homes and bodies – confined, gaining more weight and exacerbating health problems such as high blood pressure and cholesteroltype two diabetes, sleep apnoea and poor mental health, for example.  

Bariatric surgery is often dismissed as a ‘quick fix’, however that is not really the case, and we are certain that it should be part of the long-term solution to this escalating problem. 

Research shows bariatric surgery outcomes include dramatically improving or even immediately reversing type two diabetes, significant early and sustained weight loss, a reduction in heart attacks, development of diabetes, cancers and strokes, and increased life expectancy, thus reducing pressure on the NHS.  

Currently, bariatric surgery is only available on the NHS for those with a BMI over 40, or a BMI between 35 and 40 and an obesity-related condition that might improve with weight loss. I believe the health service and independent providers must work in partnership to support more patients 

“We have already collaborated to great effect during the pandemic – it is time to look at where we can continue to collaborate to help the NHS recover and address some of the key issues we are faced with, including obesity.”