UK & World News

  • 11 July 2014, 9:08

Obese Diabetes Sufferers Could Get NHS Ops

Hundreds of thousands of obese people with type 2 diabetes could get weight-loss surgery on the NHS.

Draft guidance from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (Nice) says people who fit the criteria should be assessed for bariatric surgery.

This could include having a gastric band fitted to reduce the size of the stomach or a gastric bypass, where the digestive system is re-routed past most of the stomach.

"Obesity rates have nearly doubled over the last 10 years and continue to rise, making obesity and overweight a major issue for the health service in the UK," said  Professor Mark Baker, director of the Centre for Clinical Practice at Nice.

"Updated evidence suggests people who are obese and have been recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes may benefit from weight loss surgery.

"More than half of people who undergo surgery have more control over their diabetes following surgery and are less likely to have diabetes related illness; in some cases surgery can even reverse the diagnosis."

However, Simon O'Neill, of Diabetes UK, said: "Bariatric surgery can lead to dramatic weight loss, which in turn may result in a reduction in people taking their type 2 diabetes medication and even in

some people needing no medication at all.

"This does not mean, however, that type 2 diabetes has been cured.

"These people will still need to eat a healthy balanced diet and be physically active to manage their diabetes."

Currently weight loss surgery is given to patients on the NHS to those who are morbidly obese with a body mass index (BMI) score of over 40 or to those who have a BMI over 35 and who have another serious health condition.

But now Nice is suggesting people with a BMI score of 30 to 35 should be considered for an assessment for weight-loss operations on the NHS if they have been diagnosed within the last 10 years.

This could mean that as many as 800,000 could be considered for this type of surgery on the NHS.

The draft guideline has been issued for consultation.

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