Doctors want taxpayers to cover surgery for the obese

Doctors want the public health system to pick up the bill to operate on obese Australians
Doctors want the public health system to pick up the bill to operate on obese Australians

SURGERY to combat obesity should be available through the public health system, doctors say.

An article released in the Medical Journal of Australia today said where bariatric surgery was available publicly in certain Australian states, "services are poorly funded and oversubscribed".

The article's authors, Dr Michael Talbot and Professor Michael Edye, said patients who underwent surgery in the public health system was as equally as favourable as those in the private system.

"[And yet], Australia still has no framework within which obesity treatment of any kind, including surgery, can be offered to all", Prof Edye and Dr Talbot said.

They said evidence also showed the cost of surgery could be offset, as patients would no longer need treatment for health complications that stemmed from obesity, including type 2 diabetes.

While Prof Edye and Dr Talbot said "uncontrolled" bariatric surgery in the public sector could lead to increased waiting list times and budgetary overruns, they said the focus of surgery should be tailored to treat sickness rather than fatness.

"Body mass index alone is not as good a selection criterion as the presence of serious obesity-associated conditions that are inadequately responsive to standard medical therapies", they said.




Topics:  editors picks medical journal of australia obesity

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