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Public hospital considers offering weight loss surgery

16 April 2012 - 6:16pm

Weight loss surgery may soon be offered by one hospital in the nation's capital in a bid to fight the state's rising levels of obesity.

According to The Canberra Times (April 15), Canberra Hospital is considering the action and has joined forces with obesity researchers from the Australian National University and University of Canberra to address the epidemic.

A group of clinicians will work with the educational institutions and obesity patients to investigate whether such major surgery should be made available to ACT residents without private health insurance.

Chronic disease management director Paul Dugdale explained that evolving technology used in the procedure - otherwise known as bariatric surgery - was one key factor in the decision to form the network. 

"It's quite a job to build an obesity service and bariatric surgery could be a component of that, but it's got to be just part of the solution," Dr Dugdale told the Fairfax news source.

Some private health insurance providers offer cover for gastric banding and obesity surgery, helping to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of such procedures.

The announcement from Canberra Hospital comes just weeks after the Australian Diabetes Council urged the NSW state government to provide funding for surgery such as gastric banding for obese Australians with diabetes.