Western Trust welcomes plans for Bariatric Surgery in South West Acute Hospital


Western Trust welcomes plans for Bariatric Surgery in South West Acute HospitalThe Western Trust welcomes the Department of Health (DoH) announcement  today in respect of Bariatric Surgery and will be actively contribute to the work of the planning group. The service planning group will be jointly headed by consultant surgeon Mark Taylor and Alastair Campbell, Director of Hospital Services Reform in the Department.

The management of obesity through appropriate lifestyle measures such as a healthy diet and exercise remains the best approach for dealing with childhood and adult obesity. However, there has been growing evidence in recent years that in some cases bariatric - weight loss - surgery can be used as an effective treatment for very obese adults who have been diagnosed with other health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes, and are considered clinically appropriate for treatment.

Weight loss surgery has not been provided within N Ireland’s health service, although a small number of patients have been funded for the treatment in Great Britain.

In appropriate cases, bariatric surgery can lead to significant weight loss and help improve, or even reverse, some obesity-related conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure.

However, it's a major operation which also requires significant long term lifestyle changes and will only be available to patients meeting specific criteria.



Department of Health Permanent Secretary Richard Pengelly said: “Today’s announcement is a clear signal of intent from the Department. “Establishing regional centres of excellence is a central pillar of our transformation programme for health and social care.

“Obesity is one of the most important public health issues facing Northern Ireland today. Being obese can reduce life expectancy by up to nine years and increase the risk of a range of health conditions including: heart disease and stroke; type 2 diabetes; some cancers, including postmenopausal breast cancer; mental health issues such as depression; and complications in pregnancy.

“There is also a significant financial impact for society, with the total estimated direct and indirect costs in Northern Ireland of overweight and obesity in 2015/16 estimated at around £457 million. This is a significant increase from the 2009/10 estimate of £268 million.”

Kieran Downey, Western Trust, Pathfinder Lead said: “The selection of South West Acute Hospital as the Bariatric Surgery Centre for Northern Ireland would be a very significant development.
“The Trust’s Pathfinder process is all about securing a sustainable way forward for the Hospital and all health and social care services in the Fermanagh and West Tyrone area and this proposal highlights the opportunities that exist to help us realise our ambitions. The centre of Excellence model is really important to the future of  the health service  in this region.

The service planning group will include speciality clinicians and representatives of different HSC organisations. Its immediate task is to assess population need based on NICE guidance, develop a bariatric service specification, and examine the capability of the South West Acute Hospital to deliver the service. A report with options and recommendations for a regional bariatric service will then be presented to the Department by this summer.

Mr Richard Thompson has been a Consultant General Surgeon in Daisy Hill hospital since 2016. Prior to that he was a Royal College of Surgeons of England/British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Fellow in University College London Hospital from October 2014 to October 2015.

Mr Michael Mullan is a Consultant General Surgeon in the South West Acute Hospital since August 2016. Prior to that he was the Minimal Invasive/Bariatric Surgery Fellow at the University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Western Canada, from July 2015-July 2016.