More weight loss operations for diabetes
An expansion of weight loss surgery in England is being proposed to tackle an epidemic of type 2 diabetes.
New draft guidelines from the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) aim to reduce debilitating complications.
Diabetes UK estimates 850,000 people could be eligible for surgery, but NICE expects it to be tens of thousands.
Type 2 diabetes is closely linked to lifestyle and obesity.
Wales and Northern Ireland are not bound by the guidance, but do tend to follow them closely.
The inability to control blood sugar levels can result in blindness, amputations and nerve damage.
A mounting body of evidence suggests a gastric bypass improves symptoms in around 60% of patients.
Around a tenth of NHS budgets is spent on diabetes.
The surgery can cost between £3,000 and £15,000 and the move by NICE has raised concerns that the NHS will not be able to afford the treatment, even if there are savings in the longer term.
Current guidance says surgery is an option for people with a BMI above 35 who have other health conditions.
What is bariatric surgery?
Bariatric surgery, also known as weight loss surgery, is used as a last resort to treat people who are dangerously obese and carrying an excessive amount of body fat.
This type of surgery is only available on the NHS to treat people with potentially life-threatening obesity when other treatments have not worked.
Around 8,000 people a year are currently receiving the treatment.
The two most common types of weight loss surgery are:
Gastric band, where a band is used to reduce the size of the stomach so a smaller amoun Continue reading