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Health

Raised eyebrows at new weight loss surgery at SWAH

THERE has been a mixed reaction to news SWAH could be getting the North’s first ever weight loss surgery centre, with some suggesting the money should be spent on reducing current waiting lists. 
The Department of Health this week announced it was planning on opening its first ever centre for bariatric surgery, and it was considering SWAH as its site. While some have warmly welcomed the news locally, others have been more sceptical about the announcement. 
Cllr Victor Warrington said: “I would never be negative about anything that is going to be beneficial, especially bringing a new service to SWAH, but I would say the money could be better spent in other areas. I would like to see money going towards waiting lists.”
Cllr Warrington said many local people waiting long times in great pain for knee and hip replacements. 
“The length of wait on those is unbelievable,” he said. “I think it would be more beneficial to funnel the funds towards that.”
Cllr Raymond Farrell was less cautious, warmly welcoming the news. Cllr Farrell said had raised the need for the service with the Western Trust in the past, and had persisted in stressing the need for the service. 
“It’s certainly much needed, as we’re seeing a very significant increase in obesity, and particularly so among young people,” said Cllr Farrell. 
He added: “It is also a really good attractive service in terms of increasing our compliment of doctors. This will be another specialism. I have long argued that the south west needs to help attract doctors and specialists. This will be a really good attraction, and will keep doctors here as it’s a new specialism.”
The Department has said while “appropriate lifestyle measures”, such as diet and exercise, remained the best treatment for obesity “there has been growing evidence in recent years that in some cases bariatric surgery can be used as an effective treatment for obese adults with other health conditions.” 
A specialist planning group had been set up by the Department to assess the population need and the capacity of SWAH to deliver the service. A report is due to be released in the summer with options and recommendations. 
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