Ipswich Hospital spends more than £200,000 in three years on equipment for obese patients
- Credit: Archant
Spending on specialist kit for obese patients increased almost six-fold at Ipswich Hospital over two years, new figures reveal.
The trust’s bill for bariatric equipment jumped from £18,700 in 2015 to £109,300 in 2016, according to data released under Freedom of Information laws.
Jan Ingle, head of communications at Ipswich Hospital, said the rise was down to more overweight people attending for treatment.
Last year the hospital spent £80,800 on gear for patients who weigh more than 160kg, or 25 stone.
“We are caring for an increasing number of larger people and this reflects what is happening nationally,” Mrs Ingle said.
“All our patients are treated under strict clinical guidelines which are agreed with all our commissioners so we work in very clear parameters and we have a range of programmes available to help people with weight loss before planned operations.
“There are many reasons why people may be larger and some of these are down to pre-existing clinical conditions so we consider every patient on their own merit and giving high quality, safe, compassionate care to each and every person is our top priority.”
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The trust has three bariatric beds.
This newspaper is supporting the East Anglian Go Kids campaign, which launched in April and aims to get more Suffolk youngsters active and eating well.
Inspire Suffolk has a similar ambition, offering children free sports sessions.
Reacting to the Ipswich Hospital data, Andy Crump, the charity’s chief operating officer, said: “These figures really strengthen the reason why we work so hard to engage with as many children as we can to take part in sport and engage with a healthy lifestyle.
“It is proven that frequent exercise, even walking, can improve concentration, confidence, behaviour, attainment, responsiveness and obesity levels, and hopefully in turn release pressure on the NHS.”
Suffolk County Council is responsible for some public health services in the county, and is also a Go Kids partner.
Tony Goldson, cabinet member for health, said: “Achieving and maintaining a healthy weight can improve both physical health and mental wellbeing. It is important that we work together with partners to support people to lead healthy and active lifestyles.”
Andy Yacoub, chief executive of Healthwatch Suffolk, said NHS leaders needed to ensure people were equipped with the right tools and knowledge to keep themselves healthy.
He said: “It is well recorded that unhealthy lifestyles are placing extra strain on our local services and that more people than ever before are living with a condition or multiple conditions that result from, or are influenced by, living unhealthy lifestyles (e.g. smoking, physical inactivity and poor diet).
“The hospitals in Suffolk are increasingly working with health and care community services. This is a good thing because it means our local services can take a more preventative approach and that should lead to less people requiring admission to hospital in the future.
“The whole health and care system needs to be talking to people about their health in a way, and in a language, that they can understand. After all, we cannot reasonably expect people to look after their health unless they are equipped with the right tools and have a good understanding about where to find support in their community.
“Historically, our NHS services have not always worked with people to produce such messages and information, and this is something that we would like to see become an enduring focus in the future.”