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MP opens new specialist centre for weight management services

Monday, 16 March, 2015
MP opens new specialist centre for weight management services

A dedicated facility which provides a central hub for patients receiving weight management care has been officially opened in North Tyneside.

Just days after Northumbria Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust was named as taking a national lead for transforming care for patients, its ‘North of Tyne Bariatric and Metabolic Unit’ was officially opened by Alan Campbell MP.

The centre has been purpose-built to specifically cater for the needs of patients undergoing care and treatment for weight problems and is based at Monkseaton Medical Centre in a prime example of delivering integrated care as close to people’s homes as possible.

The facility enables patients who are undergoing weight management care to have all their specialist outpatient appointments and group seminars in the one place, at the same time.

Staff from all parts of a patient’s journey are based in the centre including specialist nurses, dieticians and psychological therapists. Surgeons hold outpatient appointments at the centre however bariatric surgery is still carried out at North Tyneside General Hospital.

Northumbria Healthcare is one of the dedicated centres in the region for the weight-loss surgery however this is just one part of the patient journey with specialists working with patients in the months prior to, and following, their operation. All patients being considered for weight-loss surgery must demonstrate their commitment to a long-term lifestyle change.

The service has had some excellent results for patients with many being able to come off diabetic and blood pressure medication following interventions such as gastric bands and bypasses.

Mr Campbell said: “I am delighted to open this facility here in North Tyneside and in light of this week’s announcement about the greater need for parts of the health service to work together, I would like to commend the trust for doing just that and working with partners to bring benefits for patients closer to home.

“It is fantastic that patients are able to have all their appointments in the same place at the same time in a purposely-designed environment and this demonstrates real joined-up working.”

Sean Woodcock, lead bariatric surgeon at Northumbria Healthcare, said: “Our new specialist centre is great news for our patients and it is invaluable for them to have a dedicated centre where everything – the rooms, chairs and equipment – has been specifically designed for their needs.

“Over the years we have helped hundreds of patients make positive lifestyle changes to transform their lives and we are passionate about increasing awareness and understanding of the consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle.

“All of the patients receiving weight management care with us have to put in a lot of hard work and dedication in the months before they are even considered for any surgical interventions.

“As a result they need to attend regularly for appointments with our specialists and the new centre makes such a difference by joining up and co-ordinating care and improving overall experience.

“We have extremely close links with our primary care colleagues and we are delighted that we have been able to base our centre in Monkseaton Medical Centre, demonstrating true integrated care for our patients.

“By working together we can continue to look after people with weight problems well and support them to make positive changes for the future – they will then be less likely to suffer long-term health problems over many years, this can only be a positive for the NHS.”

Nick Lawson, GP at Monkseaton Medical Centre, said: “We are delighted that this centre is based in our premises. As one of the largest GP practices in the borough, invariably many of our patients will use this service however this is about more than helping our own patients – it is about showing that different parts of the health service are working together in order to bring benefits for patients.”

At the opening Mr Campbell met patients who are benefitting from the service including Sam Hillman, 27, who has been attending the centre before and after her weight-loss surgery last July.

“The centre is fantastic and is so welcoming,” she said. “To be able to see all the specialists you need to all together under the one roof is great and makes it so much easier from a patient’s point of view.

“If you need to ask a question, they’re all there in the same place and the staff are so helpful.”

Sam, a mother of two, has lost nearly six stones since being part of Northumbria Healthcare’s weight management service and says it has changed her life.

She said: “I feel like a completely new person. It wasn’t happy with my weight but now I feel so much more confident and positive – I can’t stop smiling.”

Patients receiving weight management services in Northumberland will continue to receive their care locally at outpatient appointments held in Wansbeck, Berwick and Hexham hospitals.