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Chelsea and Westminster selected as regional bariatric (obesity) surgery centre

22 April 2008

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has been selected as a ‘preferred provider’ of bariatric (obesity) surgery for patients in London, the South East and the East of England.

Chelsea and Westminster Hospital has been selected as a ‘preferred provider’ of bariatric (obesity) surgery for patients in London, the South East and the East of England.

South East Coast Specialist Commissioning Group, which leads a project to identify the best hospitals to carry out this specialist surgery in these regions, chose Chelsea and Westminster following a visit to the hospital by a review team – their decision is due to be formally ratified in the near future.

Many morbidly obese people are turning to bariatric surgery because it reduces the size of the stomach, making people feel fuller quicker and helping them to manage their weight. However, surgery is not risk-free and can have long term consequences.

South East Coast SCG is therefore selecting ‘preferred providers’ to ensure that patients receive the right type of surgery to suit their needs, that surgery is part of a holistic service for morbidly obese patients including post-operative support, and that a safe service is provided to patients.

Bariatric surgery can reduce the future burden placed on the NHS by patients who are morbidly obese – morbid obesity significantly increases the risk of stroke, heart attack and cancer as well as Type II diabetes.

South East Coast SCG reports statistics that, unless things change, by 2030 more than 50% of adults in Britain will be obese.

At Chelsea and Westminster our bariatric surgery service is part of a holistic approach to assessing and treating clinically and morbidly obese patients.  We carried out approximately 150 bariatric surgical procedures in 2007, and have the capacity to undertake 250 procedures following selection as a ‘preferred provider’.

All patients undergo assessment by a multi-disciplinary team of staff and the hospital follows criteria issued by the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) to assess patients’ suitability for surgery.

The bariatric surgery service has been strengthened by the recent recruitment of Mr Gianluca Bonanomi as a surgeon specialising in this area. He has extensive experience in bariatric surgery, is a member of the American Society of Bariatric Surgery and the International Federation for the Surgery of Obesity, and he helped implement a bariatric surgery programme at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Centre.

In addition, a new role of Clinical Nurse Specialist has been established to strengthen further the multi-disciplinary team.

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