Vidyya Medical News Service
Volume 6 Issue 19 Published - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 19-Jan-2004 Next Update - 14:00 UTC 08:00 EST 20-Jan-2004-Jan-2004
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UK to open obesity 'specialty' hospital in March 2004

A 20m private hospital dedicated to performing surgery on the clinically obese is set to open later in March 2004. In what some are calling a radical approach, it is hoped that as many as 2,000 operations will be carried out in the first 12 months at Dolan Park Hospital at Tardebigge, near Bromsgrove, Worcestershire.

The hospital was to originally be built as a conventional private clinic, but was redesigned after gastric surgeon Phil Thomas persuaded its owners of the need for a specialist obesity unit.

Dolan Park hopes to win NHS contracts as it is estimated that mainstream hospitals are only performing one-tenth of the obesity surgery that is needed.

The clinic has been redesigned with four operating theatres and an intensive care unit. Mr Thomas, who is a consultant surgeon, said "For many reasons, some of which are to do with funding, only 200 cases were undertaken in the whole of the UK last year. It should be nearer 4,000 at least - probably nearer 10,000."

He added: "We need to take a radical approach to (obesity) otherwise we're going to be having millions of our citizens dying prematurely, having lived a life of chronic debilitation." Some of the surgical procedures on offer will include putting a band around the stomach to make it smaller. That is likely to cost about 7,000 per case.

Another treatment will involve putting a balloon inside the stomach, at a cost of about 3,500

David Allinson, a manager for The National Centre for Obesity Surgery, the company running the hospital, said: "Looking at the way that healthcare was going on a national basis, we simply recognised that there was a need in the UK to deliver a comprehensive healthcare package to people suffering from obesity."

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