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Some 77 bariatric surgeries were carried out in the Ireland East Hospital Group (IEHG) last year, compared to just 34 in 2017 and 30 in 2016.
Within the IEHG, bariatric surgery is undertaken primarily at St Vincent’s University Hospital (SVUH), with a smaller number taking place at St Michael’s Hospital, Dún Laoghaire.
An IEHG spokesperson told MI that 60 bariatric surgeries took place in SVUH last year and 17 in St Michael’s Hospital.
It is understood the number of bariatric surgeries undertaken in the IEHG has been increasing following the commencement of a full-time bariatric surgeon in SVUH in August 2017.
The other HSE hospital where bariatric surgery is undertaken is University Hospital Galway (UHG).
A spokesperson for Saolta University Health Care Group said that, by 11 December 2018, some 30 surgeries had taken place in UHG during the year. In 2017, only eight such surgeries were conducted in UHG, 34 in 2016, and 14 in 2015.
As reported in this newspaper in December, there were calls at the Irish Society of Gastroenterology Annual Winter Meeting for a major increase in the number of such surgeries taking place in Ireland.
Speaking at the meeting, Mr Chris Collins, Consultant General and Upper GI Surgeon at UHG, said the number of surgeries being provided in the public system was nowhere near enough to meet growing demand. He said that given the current waiting lists and population size, Ireland should be carrying out 1,500 such surgeries per year in public hospitals but did not have the capacity and beds required to do so.
According to the HSE website: “Weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, has been found to be an effective treatment for some obese people. However, it is only available if your obesity is affecting your health and other treatment options have been tried and have not worked.”