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The NBSR shows how bariatric surgeons give patients their health back

07 Nov 2014

Mr Richard Welbourn

There are times when a pat on the back is very welcome and the bariatric healthcare community can feel suitably cheered by the second report from the National Bariatric Surgery Register (NBSR). It gives full information on the effectiveness of weight-loss surgery and a positive thumbs-up that we are not only improving the lives of our patients but also saving valuable resources for the NHS.

None less than Professor Sir Bruce Keogh himself, Medical Director of the NHS, gives a seal of approval for the work our members do day-to-day. "Obesity and bariatric surgery are rapidly rising up the NHS agenda as a consequence of social and lifestyle choices," he writes in the Registry’s foreword. "As in all branches of medicine, prevention is better than cure, but this report clearly demonstrates that when required, bariatric surgery is effective and safe."

The results we achieve are improving all the time, even though our patients are becoming heavier and presenting with more health complications at the point of surgery.

The Registry, containing data on 16,956 primary operations and 1,327 planned follow-up procedures, says that of those treated, 73.2 per cent of men and 71 per cent of women had functional impairment - meaning they could not, for example, climb three flights of stairs without resting. With an average BMI of 48.8, patients were twice their ideal weight.

After surgery more than half of those patients (56.0%) could manage three flights without resting.

The figures for bariatric patients with diabetes are even more impressive. The Registry reveals that almost two-thirds of patients with Type 2 diabetes at the point of surgery showed no indications of the condition two years later and were able to stop taking medications for it.

Time spent in hospital has also been reduced, down from an average of 3.1 days at the time of the last report two years ago, to 2.7 days now.

All these improvements are good news for the patients concerned, but they are also great news for the NHS. The resources saved by improving mobility and self-reliance, cutting time in hospital and reducing the need for long-term treatments can be put to use helping patients in other parts of the NHS.

The National Bariatric Surgery Registry is part of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS), plus database specialists Dendrite Clinical Systems and I’m grateful to all the people who have contributed to the Registry.

In particular I would like to thank all hardworking healthcare professionals out there who provided the information to compile the Registry. Like our colleagues in all branches of medicine, it's very nice when your efforts are recognised.

Take a look at an extract from the NBSR here:

Mr Richard Welbourn, Consultant Surgeon, Chair of the NBSR and the President of BOMSS

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