A lack of investment by hospitals in equipment to scan obese patients is responsible for hundreds of referrals elsewhere within the NHS, a charity has claimed.
More than 80 Midland patients – including two children – were too fat to be scanned at the region’s hospitals, shocking new figures have revealed.
A total of 84 people were too heavy to use equipment at hospitals in Birmingham, Walsall and Worcestershire over the past three years.
The National Obesity Forum, a charity that seeks to raise awareness of obesity, has said this should never need to happen if hospitals had planned ahead properly.
A spokesman from the Obesity Forum said: “Every district general hospital should now never need to transfer their patients for scans.
“The economic case for investing in their own scanner could have been made years ago when it became clear that obesity numbers were not about to decline.
“Indeed, the fat were getting fatter and therefore likely to require more scanning episodes.
“Despatching patients to hospitals miles away is both cumulatively expensive for the hospital and degrading for the individual.”
But Walsall Council leader Mike Bird has hit back at the Forum, saying that in most cases obesity is self inflicted and these people should deal with the ‘slings and arrows’ that come with it.
He said: “Obesity is self inflicted on many occasions. I declare an interest in this because I myself am overweight.
“These people who say it’s degrading, the solution is in there hands except in some situations where it’s a medical problem.
“It’s put up or shut up time, if you don’t do anything about it then you need to take the slings and arrows that come with it.
“Obesity is a 21st century illness but also has a 21st century cure.”
Muriel M. Delossantos