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January 2, 2013

Overweight healthcare workers to be offered gastric bands

By Anil Dawar
The Express

LONDON — Fat doctors and nurses should be offered gastric bands, counselling and dietary advice, according to the Royal College of Physicians.

Too many NHS medical staff are overweight and set a bad example to patients, the college says in a report.

A Department of Health analysis reveals more than half of doctors and nurses are likely to be obese, but the college found that less than one in 10 NHS trusts had plans to reduce obesity among staff which had been approved by their boards.

Guidance issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to help bosses improve their employees' health should be used by hospital chiefs as well, the college concluded.

John Wass, author of the report, said: "We want to make sure that people working in the hospital health service are exposed to the ability to get help where they need it, because a lot of them are overweight."

He called for healthier food to be put on sale in hospital canteens and asked chiefs not to "sell Coca-Cola all over the place and hamburgers".

The report, due out this week, calls for the NHS to increase the amount of obesity treatment it provides. NICE wants patients to be offered weight reduction treatment if they have a body mass index of over 40, or over 35 if they have other conditions like Type 2 diabetes.

But many primary care trusts are raising the bar for surgery, leading some people to try to gain weight in order to qualify. Research shows spending on obesity surgery improves patients' health and avoids costly hip and knee replacements, as well as spending on diabetes drugs.

Copyright 2012 Express Newspapers

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