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County Durham’s obesity ‘time bomb’ tackled with new service

Wayne Gower beforeWayne Gower after

Patient case study: Wayne Gower has transformed his life after losing 10 stone following weight loss surgery. Picture above : before and after surgery.


A new clinic has been set up to tackle County Durham's obesity epidemic, after the region was named as one of the top 10 'fattest local authorities' in the UK following a Public Health England investigation.

Levels of adult obesity in County Durham are worse than the England average, and two out of three adults in the region are overweight or obese. Obesity is predicted to cost the local Clinical Commissioning Group more than £100 million by next year.

The new bariatric clinic at Chester-le-Street Community Hospital is run by a team of obesity experts from County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust (CDDFT). It has been developed to provide advice and support to members of the community by bringing services closer to home.

Visitors to the service, who are referred by their GP, will be given advice based upon their circumstances on healthy eating, exercise, and what weight loss surgery may be able to offer them. The clinic will complement the existing facilities at Darlington Memorial Hospital.

Consultant Surgeon, Andy Gilliam, said: "We are seeing a huge increase in the number of patients looking to undergo bariatric surgery in County Durham. The obesity 'time bomb' the media has been warning us of has finally detonated and we need to do something to tackle it now.

"Patients can ask their GP for referral to our service if they want help and support to lose weight. We have a team of health trainers who offer workshops on healthy eating and cooking to patients. It might sound like back-to-basics stuff, but we're seeing more and more patients who don't own a pot or pan and rely solely on their microwave or local takeaway for every meal - it really is shocking."

Surgeon Ajay Gupta added: "We provide a comprehensive bariatric service across the board, from Cook4Life classes and psychological support to optimise weight loss following bariatric surgery to a full range of bariatric procedures including gastric balloon, gastric bands, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric bypass, each of which is tailored to the needs of the patient. We have a unique health improvement team in place which ensures patients are supported throughout their journey to lose weight with us."

The service is hoping to expand in April to offer a Tier 3 service including workshops with dietitians, psychologists and physiotherapists to help patients with severe and complex obesity.

Anyone wanting to find out more about the stages of undergoing weight loss surgery can watch a video on CDDFT's YouTube channel at:

Patients wishing to be referred to the Chester-le-Street clinic can do so through their GP.


'As I was very, very nervous, I must have been the worst patient ever and they were brilliant with me and I can't thank them enough - could you please pass on my sincere thanks.'

Patient, Hysteroscopy Unit, Chester-le-Street Community Hospital