Friday 18 November 2016

The number of life-changing weight-loss surgery procedures in Shropshire could double if a centre of excellence is created – meaning more people could be treated in the county.

A Centre of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery could be created at either the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital or Princess Royal Hospital in Telford if plans to transform healthcare in the county go ahead.  The current plans are that this service would be based on the Planned Care site (not the Emergency Centre site)

Currently The Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH), which runs RSH and PRH, has three Bariatric Consultants who carry out surgery procedures for just over 160 patients every year.

If the Trust’s Sustainable Services Programme goes ahead a Bariatric Surgery Centre of Excellence is being drawn up for the Planned Care site which would allow up to 300 patients a year to have life-changing surgery.

Bariatric Surgery procedures can prevent multiple medical problems associated with weight, and even reverse diabetes, which is seen as a growing national problem.

The Bariatric Team at SaTH is highly regarded and won the Kindest Award at the Trust’s VIP (Values in Practice) Awards in September.

Mr James Rink, Chief Bariatric Surgeon at SaTH, said: “At present the need and demand far outweighs what can be provided.

“The Sustainable Services Programme provides an excellent opportunity for us to do so much more which will be fantastic for patients in Shropshire, Telford & Wrekin and mid Wales who need to access Bariatric Surgery.

“We currently have access to theatres and clinics which are shared by a number of specialties, so we are restricted in how many patients we can help.

“If we can create a Centre of Excellence for Bariatric Surgery in Shropshire on the Planned Care site as part of the Sustainable Services Programme, we would have a dedicated theatre on one site.

“This would bring so many benefits. We would be able to double the number of patients we can treat each year, which means more patients can be seen closer to home.

“We would be able to attract more high quality Bariatric Surgeons to work for the Trust as well as lots of research opportunities and really put Shropshire on the map for these kinds of procedures. Longer-term and if we can treat a higher number of patients each year, we could potentially offer a fellowship to support people about to become consultants.

“Providing all Bariatric Surgery and support on the one site would be great for patients, for our staff in ensuring we keep our skills up and for the service.”

Bariatric surgery is offered to patients, following a referral from their GP, who have a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 40 or a BMI over 35 with weight related health problems, such as Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnoea, high blood pressure and hip and knee arthritis.

Mr John Loy, a Consultant Bariatric Surgeon, who prior to working at SATH spent a year in New York at the internationally renowned NYU Langone Bariatric Surgery Unit, says the surgery saves the NHS money in the long-term.

He said: “Our hospitals are full of patients with Type 2 Diabetes, which more often than not is caused by being overweight. In fact, the NHS spends £22,000 every minute treating diabetes, therefore all the evidence shows that the cost of bariatric surgery is offset within three years as patients are weaned off expensive diabetic medications.

“Type 2 Diabetes is a real epidemic that we, as surgeons, need to do something about. By helping patients lose weight we are also improving their diabetes. Quite often people are taken off their diabetes medication on the day of surgery; our results are that instant due to the gut hormones being reset to a normal level after a gastric bypass.”

Details about the Trust’s Sustainable Services Programme can be found at


Mr John Loy, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon Sister Bryony Price, Bariatric Nurse Specialist Sam Ayers, Bariatric Theatre Sister Mr James Rink, Chief Bariatric Surgeon Dr Rob Law, Bariatric Anaesthetist

Mr John Loy, Consultant Bariatric Surgeon; Sister Bryony Price, Bariatric Nurse Specialist; Sam Ayers, Bariatric Theatre Sister; Mr James Rink, Chief Bariatric Surgeon; Dr Rob Law, Bariatric Anaesthetist