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GP poster

BOMSS publishes GP post-op symptoms poster

Symptoms are categorised in traffic light colours to show whether they warrant emergency, urgent or routine attention

The British Obesity & Metabolic Surgery Society (BOMSS) has issued a traffic lights-style poster to help GPs care for patients who have had bariatric surgery. Designed by Mr Sean Woodcoock, a Council member of BOMSS, the at-a-glance poster displays a range of possible symptoms some of which will require referral back to bariatric specialists.

"The poster will help GPs decide how urgent the situation may be if a patient presents symptoms following an operation and how quickly they should be referred back to a specialist,” said Mr Woodcock, consultant surgeon at Northumbria NHS Foundation Trust. "Bariatric procedures are often extremely beneficial to people with serious weight problems but like all operations there can be complications. This traffic lights-style poster will help GPs decide how serious any complications may be and help make sure they refer patients to a specialist in good time."

Symptoms are categorised in traffic light colours to show whether they warrant emergency, urgent or routine attention. The poster - "Primary care management of post-operative bariatric patients" - also suggests how soon after an operation the symptoms are most likely to occur.

Emergency symptoms, most likely to occur within days or weeks of the operation, are shown as red. These include abdominal or chest pain, breathlessness, tachycardia (fast heart beat), pyrexia (fever) and continuous vomiting.

Urgent symptoms most commonly presented within weeks of months of the operation are coloured yellow and include intermittent vomiting or abdominal pain, nocturnal coughing and heartburn.

Symptoms requiring routine attention by bariatric specialists and most likely to occur months or years after an operation are shown in green. These include the patient experiencing poor weight loss or regaining weight.

A post-operative patient who becomes pregnant should also routinely be referred for further specialist attention.

 “The poster will be very useful to GPs in deciding whether and how quickly they should refer a patient back to the bariatric specialists for attention,” said BOMSS President, Mr Richard Welbourn. “GPs will use their own professional judgment in coming to a decision with their patients but this will provide some useful guidelines in a simple format."

The poster 'Primary care management of post-operative bariatric patients' can be viewed here

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