Doctors sceptical over NICE weight loss surgery move

By Editor
30th July 2014
Latest news, NICE

Doctors are sceptical over plans by NICE to make an extra 850,000 people eligible for bariatric surgery and believe the move to tackle Type 2 diabetes is an “easy way out”, according to a study.

Earlier this month the National Institute of Health and Care Excellence (NICE) proposed lowering the threshold for the obesity-busting procedure for newly-diagnosed Type 2 diabetes to a BMI of 30, down from 35.

HCPDOLS-Website-artwork-bThe reaction on Twitter saw almost 80 per cent of social media commentators express negative views in response to the news, according to research conducted by the website Healthcare Professional Digital Opinion Leaders.

The analysis, which studied 46 tweets, found healthcare professionals were immediately concerned over the financial burden on the NHS of offering weight loss surgery to more patients, instead calling for an emphasis on lifestyle changes.

Tweets also mentioned the lack of bariatric centres in the UK and potential risks and complications associated with the operation.

Twitter activity was then studied a week after the announcement, with the findings continuing to find scepticism about the NICE proposal, fearing the procedure might form an easy way out.

pie-chart-of-tweets

Study author Georgiana Murariu, from the website, said: “It seems that NICE has not given the public and the medical community enough reassurance about the cost-effectiveness and feasibility of the procedure, leaving many to speculate about private contractors picking up the operations and questioning whether the government is encouraging both patients and HCPs [healthcare professionals] to become complacent by offering what could be seen as an easy solution.

“Many HCPs [healthcare professional] and patients have entered the conversation feeling cynical and sceptical. The HCPs and patients who tended to support NICE’s view, on the other hand, maintain that the surgery is an effective preventative measure in those who are either morbidly obese or suffer from other conditions.”

The move could see an extra 850,000 people eligible for surgery, according to Diabetes UK.

To view a full account of the study, click here.

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