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Obesity: Surgery

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what role surgery has in the treatment of severe obesity in the NHS; and what assessment he has made of the potential to increase the use of surgery in such cases. (187696)

Healthy Weight, Healthy Lives, the Government's strategy for promoting healthy weight, published in January 2008, reaffirmed the commitment that local health services should provide surgical interventions for obese patients where it is deemed clinically appropriate.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) recommends that surgery should only be considered in adults with severe obesity if they have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more or between 35 and 40 and other significant disease (for example, type two diabetes, high blood pressure), and after all appropriate non-surgical measures have failed to achieve or maintain adequate clinically beneficial weight loss, and only be considered as a last resort. Surgery can be considered as a first-line option for adults with a BMI of more than 50. NICE do not generally recommend surgery for children or young people and it should only be considered in exceptional circumstances.

Regarding the potential to increase the use of surgery to treat obesity, it is up to local areas to decide the best types of treatments, including the level of weight loss surgery, to provide for their own populations, in line with NICE guidance.