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THE number of weight-loss operations for obese Scots must double to prevent a public health crisis, according to experts.
There are around 200 operations – including gastric band – carried out every year at four centres.
But specialists say that number must rise to more than one a day to tackle the country’s obesity epidemic.
Professor Naveed Sattar, professor of metabolic medicine at Glasgow University, told the Sunday Mail: “The number of cases of obesity and gastric band surgery we do in the UK is tiny. In Scotland it is even tinier.
“I don’t think we are doing enough operations. I would like to see us double the number. I would like to see us do at least one a day. There are many patients who would benefit.”
There were 194 Gastric Band NHS operations carried out in Scotland in 2013 when 70 per cent of the patients were women. That fell from 213 in 2012 and 202 the year before.
Consultant surgeon Peter Small said the number of operations in Scotland should be closer to 400 a year.
He said: “Scotland has to do something about its numbers. Scotland is being very restrictive in what they are allowed to do. Do you want people to die young?
“If you are morbidly obese, your life expectancy is 12 years shorter. If you are diabetic or on insulin, you are going to spend the cost of the operation in two years.
“Patients will die young and you will save on pensions but those people are not working. We know that one third of people who are not working get back to employment after their surgery.
“And you have the ability to reverse disease. It is cost effective.”
Last year England’s health watchdog said obesity surgery should be offered to nearly one million diabetic patients.
A report on new guidelines for Scotland is expected later this year.
The working group are looking at making recently diagnosed Type 2 diabetes patients, aged 18 to 44 with a BMI of 35 to 40, a priority.
Small, a Scot based at Sunderland Royal Hospital, said: “There are four units in Scotland and they do 50 operations each.
“There are minimum numbers required for a unit to be recognised as competent. That is 100.
“So you need to double to make sure they meet those standards. The Scottish Government don’t believe it is a good return but it’s a no-brainer.
“Tens of thousands of pounds will be spent on a cancer drug that lengthens lives by a couple of months. Surgery will give back 10 years.”
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