Surgery a last resort


WIGAN health chiefs say changes to lifestyle are the best way to combat the risks posed by type 2 diabetes rather than costly weight-loss operations.

Following news that guidelines on weight loss surgery are to be expanded in England to tackle an epidemic of type 2 diabetes, Wigan’s NHS decision makers say it will remain a last resort.

Wigan Borough Clinical Commissioning Group, which oversees the £450m budget says it will not open up the option of widespread weight-loss operations and instead will focus on how people can help themselves.

The latest NHS figures show that nearly seven per cent of the population of the borough have already been diagnosed with diabetes, with many more thought to be at risk.

Sanjay Wahie, local GP and medicines lead at Wigan Borough CCG said: “We would always recommend lifestyle advice first for people with diabetes. Patients should visit their GPs who have several options available to them to help which include health trainers who can spend quite some time advising patients on improvements to their lifestyle . Surgery is usually only considered after its risks and benefits are carefully assessed with patients and all other options have been fully explored.”

The 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 raising concerns over long-term cost.

The weight-loss surgery can cost between £3,000 and £15,000 and current NICE guidance says surgery is only an option for people with a BMI above 35 who have other health conditions.