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Public vs private procedures

Public hospitals left to revise private bariatric procedures

It is a growing problem between private and public medicine in the country and bariatric surgeons working in taxpayer-funded hospitals

Canada’s National Post is reporting a ‘crisis’ of public hospitals having to revise bariatric procedure for patients who have previously undergone treatment at private weight loss clinics.

According to the report, it is a growing problem between private and public medicine in the country and bariatric surgeons working in taxpayer-funded hospitals claim they are routinely treating patients who have had privately performed weight-loss operations.

The article quotes Daniel Birch, a surgeon from Edmonton, who claims that the cost to taxpayers of treating patients who had gastric bands implanted by for-profit clinics in Canada.

“I think it’s a crisis, to be honest. It may explode at some point when all these people have ongoing issues,” said Birch. “It’s a tremendous cost to the patient and to the system, with no sustainable quality-of-life change.”

Although the report does tress that a procedure performed privately does not mean sub-standard care or provision, it does highlight that there may be a lack of pre-operative and post-operative consultation, compared with a publically-funded procedure.

However, this is not the case for all private centres, only some. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest that the results from private hospitals are any worse or better than those that are publically-funded.

The experience of Canadian hospitals is similar to those in the UK. At the 2014 BOMSS meeting, researchers from St Georges Healthcare NHS Trust, London, UK, assessed the activity of a 24 hour emergency bariatric surgical on-call service provided by specialist bariatric surgeons with particular emphasis on patient who had undergone previous private (non-NHS) bariatric surgery. They reported that "...there is a significant volume of private patients who present as emergencies with complications related to bariatric surgery requiring NHS intervention.“These findings have potentially important financial implications for both the private sector and the NHS."

To read the National Post article, please click here

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