Weight-loss op requests at John Radcliffe Hospital triple

Overweight lady
Image caption 92 people asked for weight-loss surgery at the John Radcliffe Hospital between 2010 and 2011.

The number of people asking for surgery to lose weight on the NHS in Oxfordshire has tripled since 2007, according to figures from Oxfordshire Primary Care Trust (PCT).

The surgery for obese patients with a BMI under 50 at the hospital's 22-bed unit includes gastric bands.

Between 2007 and 2008, 36 people requested one of these operations, between 2010 and 2011 it rose to 92.

The Department of Health says the surgery should be a last resort.

Out of the 92 requests, 13 people had their bariatric surgery approved.

Bariatric surgeon at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Bob Marshall said: "It's an intervention that's been shown to work.

"There's a cost saving long-term, so despite the fact that an operation may cost several thousand pounds, for a patient that's diabetic in the long-term you will save a significant amount of money."

The operation works by reducing the size of a patient's stomach, which limits the amount of food they can eat.

A Department of Health Spokesperson said: "People only have surgery after assessment by a doctor, and this includes bariatric surgery.

"The doctor will identify the appropriate weight loss treatment for an individual, in line with national guidance on obesity."

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