NHS funds 'better spent on obesity surgery than palliative care'
7 August 2012 14:24 in Medical Government/ NHS related news
A medical expert has called for more funds to be spent on surgery for obesity patients, rather than providing palliative care for the terminally ill.
Andrew de Beaux, a gastric surgeon at Edinburgh Royal Infirmary who has advised the Scottish government on obesity, questioned whether it is worth spending money on costly treatments for patients in the last weeks of their lives.
Mr de Beaux said: "Healthcare is rationing. It's trying to get a balancing act between some very expensive treatments which have very little benefit but because they have emotive benefit, we spend money on them."
He observed that treating oesophageal and gastric cancer can often cost around 20,000 to 30,000 pounds per patient, but only extends life expectancy by around six to eight weeks.
The expert also stated that obese patients do not always receive the care they may need, despite the condition causing extreme suffering, shortening life expectancy and often being a result of intrinsic factors rather than lifestyle.
NHS predictions suggest that by 2025 nearly half of all men and more than one-third of women will be obese, if current trends prevail.
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Story collated for Zenopa by the Adfero News Agency