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Significant increase in bariatric surgeries in 2023

By David Lynch - 21st Jan 2024

bariatric surgeries

The number of bariatric surgery procedures carried out last year exceeded “revised” targets, the HSE has informed this newspaper.

According to figures provided to the Medical Independent (MI), as of 14 December, the HSE had provided 219 bariatric surgery procedures in 2023. This was an increase on the approximately 109 procedures provided in total in 2022.

“This [219] exceeded the revised target of 200, which was set in February 2023, based on projections in recruitment of staff and availability of theatre space,” the HSE spokesperson told MI.

The original target for 2023 was 350 procedures, the HSE told this newspaper in January last year.

The procedures are provided in three HSE sites – St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH), Dublin; St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire; and University Hospital Galway (UHG).

The HSE Obesity National Clinical Programme plans to expand services in Cork, which is due to provide bariatric surgery in 2025, “subject to funding,” the HSE spokesperson added.

The spokesperson said the HSE expected an increase in the number of surgeries in 2024, “subject to resources.”

A spokesperson for Saolta University Health Care Group confirmed that there were 49 bariatric surgeries carried out in UHG last year, more than double the 19 that were undertaken in 2022.

Separately, as reported in the last issue of MI (9 January), concerns were raised at the Irish Society of Gastroenterology Winter Meeting 2023 that patients continue to present with complications following bariatric surgery abroad.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, there has been a “concerning increase” in patients presenting with complications following these surgeries abroad, stated Prof Helen Heneghan, Professor of Surgery at University College Dublin and Consultant Bariatric and General Surgeon at SVUH.

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