Most recent update: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 10:54

Bariatric News - Cookies & privacy policy

You are here

Funding

Australian government told to fund bariatric surgery

Every year some 12,000 Australians pay to have bariatric surgery in private hospitals
As little as 1,000 operations a year are fully-funded by state governments

Bariatric surgery in Australia should be fully-funded by the Australia government so hundreds of thousands of people can benefit, claimed Professor John Dixon, at the recent World Diabetes Congress in Melbourne, Australia.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Dixon, who is Laboratory Head of Clinical Obesity Research at the Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute, in Melbourne, Australia, made the comments after hearing the latest long-term outcomes from the Swedish Obese Subjects study.

John Dixon

He said that the health of most diabetics declines as the condition becomes more difficult to manage over time, and bariatric surgery has shown that it is effective at treating type 2 diabetes.

"As we get older, more of us will need pacemakers, joint replacements, cataracts done, and I think bariatric surgery will be one of those things that we provide as a standard of care for very big Australians. We just have to come to grips with that," he said.

"People will often say they have never had surgery that is so wonderful. The impact could be quite enormous but we still have to get over the stigmatisation to deliver it at higher levels."

The report states that every year some 12,000 Australians pay to have bariatric surgery in private hospitals. As little as 1,000 operations a year are fully-funded by state governments in public hospitals. Medicare pays about AUS$800 towards the procedure.

"It's a tragedy when we see people who are very, very big and we have to rely on public hospitals who really don't want to know about them. You can wait years and years to get an appointment to see the group at the hospital who then pretend they will do something in 12 to 18 months," said Dixon.

He estimated that about 400,000 people - one-third of the 1.2 million Australians with type 2 diabetes - would have a BMI of more than 35, making them good candidates for surgery.

However, Dixon cautioned that surgery was a final solution adding that 15 to 30 per cent of patients required continuing surgical procedures to fix complications from the operation.

Want more stories like this? Subscribe to Bariatric News!

Bariatric News
Keep up to date! Get the latest news in your inbox. NOTE: Bariatric News WILL NOT pass on your details to 3rd parties. However, you may receive ‘marketing emails’ sent by us on behalf of 3rd parties.