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Numbers of bariatric surgeries set to increase nationally

So far this year (until mid-June), some 31 surgeries have been undertaken within the IEHG, compared to 34 for the whole of 2017 and 30 in 2016.

“Bariatric surgery is undertaken primarily in St Vincent’s University Hospital and a small number have been undertaken this year in St Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire,” an IEHG spokesperson told the Medical Independent (MI).

“The number of bariatric surgeries undertaken in Ireland East Hospital Group during 2018 will be higher than in previous years. This is a direct result of the commencement of a full-time bariatric surgeon [in] St Vincent’s University Hospital in August 2017.”

The only other HSE hospital where bariatric surgery is undertaken is University Hospital Galway (UHG).

A spokesperson for Saolta University Health Care Group told MI that eight surgeries have taken place in UHG so far this year. Last year, eight such surgeries took place, compared with 34 in 2016 and 14 in 2015.

In June, the HSE Clinical Lead for Obesity Prof Donal O’Shea said he believed bariatric surgery was an important aspect of addressing obesity.

“It’s historically under-funded. We are doing a miniscule [amount of] bariatric surgery,” he told MI.

Prof O’Shea said he planned to make the case for extra funding for bariatric surgery to the Department of Finance.

“It doesn’t make any economic sense not to be doing it. Within two years, the operation pays for itself in terms of reducing the cost of the medication that people are on. Also, people can get back to work and then contribute to the tax base, etc.”

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