Health experts' warning to 70-stone Paul

As 70-stone Paul Mason recovers from gastric bypass surgery, health chiefs today issued a warning over the procedure's success.

IPSWICH: As 70-stone Paul Mason recovers from gastric bypass surgery, health chiefs today issued a warning over the procedure's success.

Half of all patients who have the surgery Ipswich man Mr Mason underwent yesterday put the weight back on afterwards, eating experts have revealed.

The 48-year-old, who lives in the east of the town, is believed to have had the lifesaving procedure at a specialist unit in St Richard's Hospital, Sussex.

Mr Mason has been closely followed throughout the process by a TV crew who are filming a Channel 4 documentary about his life and his bid to shed the pounds.

It is believed Mr Mason has a severe addiction to food, while TV producers have indicated he suffers from a compulsive eating disorder.

However even though a gastric bypass is a procedure to make the stomach smaller, health experts believe psychological help before and after surgery is vital if the weight is to be permanently lost.

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Gill Burgoyne, clinical lead for eating disorders at Suffolk Mental Health Partnership NHS Trust (SMHPT), claims more work is needed to help those with such conditions.

She said: “Clearly people who have compulsive eating problems may have compulsive eating disorders.

“It is an area we are keen to work on with our colleagues in the medical profession. Fifty per cent of people who have this surgery will still go back and put the weight back on.

“There is a strong need to have a comprehensive psychological service as well. People do have some psychological input pre-surgery but do not have the follow-up post-surgery.”

Currently the SMHPT service helps those suffering with anorexia and bulimia but there is no dedicated service for those with compulsive eating disorders.

Do you suffer from an obsessive eating disorder and want to tell us your experience? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

The issue of Mr Mason's lifesaving surgery has sparked lively debate among The Evening Star's readers. Here is a selection of some of the comments:

Damien Miller: “People get this fat because they eat too much, medical disorder or not. Excess food + no exercise = fat, it's not rocket science. And since this person cannot move, I presume someone is bringing him the food?”

Amy Slawson, Ipswich: “I first of all didn't think he deserved any help but soon changed my mind. So people think it's ok to refuse him help as he bought it on himself? Well how about alcoholics or drug addicts - they expect help and receive it so why not him?”

David Pomroy: “No-one needs to be like this and who is paying for it? Please stop feeding him with my tax contributions and send them to someone genuinely in need and help.”

EC: “I have no sympathy for him - regardless of a medical disorder or not, why has it taken so long for him to seek help? It's not like it happened overnight.”

SM: “Leave the man alone, so what if he has overeaten and had little exercise. He is a fellow human who is in need of help from the tax-payer. I am more than happy for my hard-earned tax pounds to go toward his care.”

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