OBESE patients facing bariatric surgery at St Richard’s Hospital have faced camera crews for the BBC’s The One Show.
The programme will include a report about type 2 diabetes and stomach by-pass surgery at the Chichester hospital.
St Richard’s Hospital is the only accredited National Centre of Excellence for bariatric metabolic surgery in the UK – treating nearly 350 patients last year.
Leading bariatric surgeon at Western Sussex NHS Foundation Trust, Christopher Pring said: “As doctors we have known for a long time that bariatric surgery is not just about weight loss but about improving health.”
He said surgery was ‘clinically effective’ and offered long-term health improvement.
“It is also cost-effective in that it pays for itself in two to four years. We see a significant improvement in our patients’ health, in respect of their diabetes, hypertension, fertility and mobility.”
Each operation costs the NHS about £10,000, but it costs around £100,000 a year to care for someone with type 2 diabetes.
Since St Richard’s Hospital started operating on bariatric patients in 2007, more than 3,000 people with severe and complex morbid obesity have been treated. Three-quarters of the patients are women and the average length of time they have spent dieting is 23 years.
The programme will feature 59-year-old Gary Bullen from Uckfield, who has type 2 diabetes.
Mr Bullen had a gastric bypass at the hospital two years ago and has lost 12 stone.
“Two-and-a-half years ago, at 30 stone, my life was going down the pan,” he said. “Now I feel fit and healthy.
“The operation was life-changing, life-saving and life-prolonging.”
Philip Perrot, a professional driver from Crawley, is hoping his operation at St Richard’s will change his life in a similar way. Mr Perrot said without the procedure, he could lose his job.
The programme will be broadcast on Thursday, August 14 on BBC One at 7pm.