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New Weight and Wellbeing Service


Patients wishing to lose weight in County Durham and Darlington now have access to a new service.

County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust has launched a new weight management programme which works to support its bariatric - weight loss surgery - service based at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

The service provides access to nutritionists, psychologists and physicians and can be used for patients who can't or do not wish to try surgical intervention or by those in the preparation period for their surgery when they need to lose a certain about of weight to qualify for a procedure.

David beforeDavid after

David Mason - who has lost 14 stone since having weight loss surgey and 'completley chnaged his life' with the help of the service.

Dr Paul Peter Consultant Bariatric Physician says "Not everyone is able to have weight loss surgery and indeed not everyone wants to have it. What we can now offer is a medical management programme to complement our surgical service and provide access to different support and expert advice.

"We provide a full range of options to help patients manage their weight issues appropriately. As part of the service patients will be seen by physicians for support in dealing with co-morbidities such diabetes and hypertension, for the first 12 weeks of the programme there is weekly support from our nutritionists and dieticians which then continued fortnightly to help educate patients about the right kind of diet to follow."

All patients who are referred for weight loss surgery must also complete the six month weight management programme.

Mr Andrew Mitchell Consultant Bariatric Surgeon says: "Several hundred patients have had weight loss surgery performed by our trust over the last three years. Patients are required to make significant long-term dietary and lifestyle changes to achieve a good result. This new service allows all patients to receive this support from a specialist team to prepare them for surgery. Significant weight loss improves conditions such as diabetes, allows patients to live longer, makes patients feel better and actually saves the NHS money in under two years by reducing healthcare costs. This new service will also allow patients to receive life-long specialist follow-up after surgery." 

Patients suitable for the programme will be referred by their GPs. One such patient is forty four year old Barbara O'Reilly.

Barbara, who lives in Chilton, has been trying to lose weight for over 26 years. She has decided to go ahead with bariatric surgery but is following the new weight loss programme to lose some weight ahead of her operation.

Barbara said: "I've been trying to lose weight for 26 years and have tried many different kinds of diets and groups such as slimming world. I want to feel healthier and feel better about myself. I have a target weight that I'd like to be and it means losing about 7 stone. Already on the plan I've lost half a stone over 12 weeks.

"You start off by going to a group seminar. At first I wasn't sure about it being a group but I've found it has given me more confidence, I'll talk to everyone now. It's a very different atmosphere to slimming groups I have been to in the past. Everyone is really friendly and supportive of each other. 

"The health staff weigh you and take your height and then talk through different plans with you. They give you tips on exercise as well, they have helped me find some exercises that I can do on my trampoline and have designed an eating plan which shows me what portions to eat and how many calories are in different foods.  I didn't realise how much sugar was in fruit before but I can still eat normally on the plan, it's very easy to follow.

"I'm hoping to continue on the plan and keep having regular appointments with the consultant to prepare for my surgery."

The new service is available to patients who have a BMI of 40 or over or who have a BMI of 35 with other medical conditions, it is also available to patients with a BMI of 30 and who have recently developed diabetes.

In keeping with the Trust's intention of moving care closer to home, the service operates from community locations in  Darlington, Bishop Auckland ,Ferryhill , Chester-le-Street and Seaham with additional options being investigated in Barnard Castle and Durham.

'Every aspect of my emergency care was dealt with quickly, efficiently and professionally with full explanations and compassion from all staff involved'.

Patient, Emergency Department, Darlington Memorial Hospital