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100 people now on list for vital obesity surgery

OVER 100 people suffering from obesity are on a waiting list for potentially life-saving surgery at a HSE clinic.

The list is extensive as only two operations can be performed per week and there are only two publicly funded hospital weight-management treatment services available in the whole of Ireland.



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Some 120 severely overweight adults are attending one Dublin hospital.

Loughlinstown's St Columcille's hospital and University Hospital Galway offer life-saving gastric band surgery to obese patients.

At Co Dublin's St Columcille's, 120 adults with a Body Mass Index (BMI) above 40 are looking to have the surgery. The average BMI index for an individual should be less than 25.

Those battling obesity are assessed and participate in life interventions schemes -- which sees up to 12 months of visits for dietary and exercise advice, as well as prescription medication throughout the plan.

Previously, before any decision on surgery is made, some patients were prescribed Orlistat - a weight-loss drug which cost the country €4.2m in 2009.

Resident consultant endocrinologist Dr Donal O'Shea has said that, in time, Ireland will have to perform 450 such surgeries every year in order to meet standards and growing numbers.

It has been recommended that instead of having two centres, this should be extended to four treatment venues, to facilitate patients and meet demand for the ops.



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This would allow a further 100 surgeries to be carried out annually. There are two planned hospital clinics in the pipeline -- one in Dublin and one in Cork.

If patients do not undergo surgery -- which can greatly reduce risk of fatal illness -- they can ultimately die from symptoms of diabetes, heart disease or cancer.

hnews@herald.ie