Forty-eight bariatric surgeries were carried out in the first half of 2019, according to figures provided to the Medical Independent (MI).
Twenty-five such surgeries took place in St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH), Dublin, and eight in St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire, representing 33 in the first six months of this year, according to the Ireland East Hospital Group.
During all of last year, 60 bariatric surgeries were undertaken in SVUH and 17 in St Michael’s, representing 77 in total.
A spokesperson for Saolta University Health Care Group told MI that 15 bariatric surgeries had taken place at University Hospital Galway to the end of June. In 2018, there was a total of 30.
In an interview with MI, HSE Clinical Lead for Obesity Prof Donal O’Shea said levels of bariatric surgery in Ireland were too low. He said he would be seeking investment in the Budget to fund greater levels of surgery.
During last year’s estimates process, Prof O’Shea sought funding for “100 surgeries in each of the two existing centres, Saolta and Ireland East”. However, “we didn’t get it”.
“We are going back this year [looking] for an uplift of closer to 150 surgeries in the Ireland East Group and to get the Saolta Group up to the 100,” he told MI. According to Prof O’Shea, this would still be “way below what we need to be at, but you do need to grow into the volume”.
He underlined that funding for the national obesity policy and action plan, which was launched almost three years ago, was “absolutely essential”.
A Department of Health spokesperson told MI: “The issue of the number of bariatric surgeries will be considered in the context of overall service planning with the HSE”.