Why Fitzwilliams Weight Loss Service is in demand

UK obesity is growing 

Fitzwilliam’s weight loss service has grown almost four-fold over the last five years. Recent analysis suggests more than 21 million UK adults will be obese by 2040 which is around 36% of the adult population. Most worryingly, if this rapid upward trend continues, the number of people who are obese could overtake the number who are a healthy weight in the UK by 2040¹.

The reasons for the rise in obesity include diet, lack of exercise, environmental factors, and genetics. The imbalance between food and activity is the greatest contributor to weight gain. Environmental factors such as a lack of affordable gyms and leisure facilities, oversized food portions, increasing costs of living, and food advertising have an impact. In addition, genes can also directly cause obesity in some conditions and may contribute to a person’s susceptibility to weight gain².

The NHS works hard to treat weight loss patients through a tier treatment system but waiting lists are long. Locally, patients may wait two to three years on the NHS to get the weight loss surgery they need.

Unfortunately, obesity is linked with several other health conditions. These include heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, asthma, arthritis, and acid reflux. This has been highlighted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which showed people with obesity have higher rates of death involving COVID-19 than people without obesity. Patients who undergo bariatric surgery and lose weight are also less likely to die from heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and cancers.

Fitz’s best practice weight loss surgery

Meet our team

We have a dynamic multi-disciplinary team that includes a staff nurse and bariatric lead, two weight loss surgeons, two dieticians, and a secretary. The team can also call upon other specialists as needed such as a psychologist.

Jaco Buckby-Smit, known as Jaco, is the staff nurse and bariatric lead. He specialised in Fitzwilliam’s weight loss team since 2017. He enjoys the psychological and multi-faceted aspects of bariatrics. He is the patient’s main point of contact before and after surgery.

The bariatric surgeons are Mr Andrew Tsang and Mr Farrukh Bajwa. Both consultants are GMC registered, hold a Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) in general surgery, and are members of the Association of Upper GI Surgeons (AUGIS) and the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgical Society (BOMSS). They have vast experience and have worked in the NHS and keep abreast of the latest techniques in weight loss surgery.

Our two dieticians provide nutrition guidance, dietary recommendations, and counselling to our weight loss surgery patients to support them through their journey.

Working with the psychologist means that a patient’s relationship with food can be identified and supported. If patients aren’t suitable for weight loss surgery, they may be recommended other options such as seeing a dietician.

Why do our patients have weight loss surgery?

Many of our patients with obesity have tried to treat it on their own, with diet and exercise. They may have had some success but then regain the weight.

Other patients through no fault of their own have little to no success with diet and exercise alone. Unfortunately, people with a body mass index (BMI) greater than 35, have a less than 1% chance of reaching a normal body weight for a lasting period of time³.  

Our obese patients may have lifestyle drivers for weight loss surgery such as wanting to play with their children/grandchildren, being able to get up the stairs, a desire to control comorbidity conditions such as diabetes, enjoying a better way of life, or wanting to get pregnant.

For those who want to try for a baby, weight loss surgery can boost their fertility, but they will have to wait a year after surgery before becoming pregnant giving their body time to recover.

We have seen more younger people coming to us following the pandemic, as they have reassessed their life and want to deal with their obesity-related issues.

Qualifications for bariatric surgery

We see all patients on an individual basis and use standard bariatric guidelines to guide our patients.

To be eligible for weight loss surgery you will have a body mass index (BMI) of 40 or more, or a BMI between 35 and 40 and an obesity-related condition that might improve if you lost weight (such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure). You will have tried all other weight loss methods, such as dieting and exercise, but struggled to lose and keep weight off. You will also need to be ready to make healthy lifestyle changes and attend regular check-ups after surgery.

What weight loss surgeries do we offer?

Fitzwilliam offers a range of weight loss surgeries from the least invasive gastric balloon through to gastric band, gastric sleeve, and gastric bypass. Your Fitzwilliam bariatric surgeon will discuss with you the most appropriate weight loss surgery options for you.

What our weight loss patients are saying

‘Making the decision to opt for bariatric surgery was one of the most difficult that I have faced, the primary emotions for me were guilt, shame and fear. Mr Bajwa was there to support me from the beginning, I had multiple questions about the procedures available, he was patient and took his time to explain everything, and I felt like I was in safe hands throughout. The surgery, as expected, was challenging and the recovery gruelling. However, it has been an incredible journey. One year on I am almost 10 stone lighter, I have developed a passion for running (which came as a surprise to me), but most importantly I have experienced a freedom from the shackles of obesity. I'll always be grateful to the team for the support that they have offered throughout my journey’


¹ https://news.cancerresearchuk.org/2022/05/19/new-analysis-estimates-over-21-million-uk-adults-will-be-obese-by-2040/

² https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/obesity/conditioninfo/cause#

³ https://asmbs.org/patients/benefits-of-weight-loss-surgery

For more information please visit our website: www. https://www.ramsayhealth.co.uk/weight-loss-surgery/hospitals/fitzwilliam-hospital or call 01733 842304.