Nightingale Hospital launch pioneering new Obesity Service

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Obesity And Weight Management Service

Nightingale Hospital, launches the UK’s first dedicated obesity service that will use a pioneering programme of psychological treatment to address the root causes of obesity and offer a much needed non-invasive, non-surgical, sustainable solution.

Recent reports suggest that we are in the midst of an obesity pandemic, with newspapers speculating that as many as half of all UK men and 40% of women could be obese by 2030. The consequences of obesity are already felt throughout the Health Service – the number of obese patients requiring hospital treatment has soared from 1,800 to 9,000 over the last five years – and, if predictions are correct, will add an estimated £1.9-2 billion a year in medical costs for obesity-related diseases, which include Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, strokes, hypertension, liver disease, sleep apnoea and osteoarthritis.

To date, bariatric surgery has been the preferred treatment pathway, though the long-term benefits remain hotly debated, with many seeing it as a ‘quick fix’ and relapse rates consequently high, occurring in around 20% of patients. Rather than purely ‘fixing’ the physical, the innovative new treatments offered by Nightingale Hospital are therapy based, addressing underlying psychological triggers to dramatically reduce the chance of relapse and offer a long-term solution without the need for surgery.

The new treatment model that underpins the Obesity Service has been developed by the hospital’s multi-disciplinary team of clinical psychologists, psychotherapists, dieticians and consultant psychiatrists and has been spear-headed by Jeanne Vorster (Clinical & Chartered Psychologist) and Dr Bijal Chheda-Varma (Practitioner Psychologist/CBT Therapist). Nightingale Hospital is uniquely qualified to deliver this programme of treatment as the only British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) fully-accredited private hospital in the UK.

The programme is designed to improve an individual’s sense of ‘self’ and to help them identify, express and process their emotional responses and to distinguish them from any physical urges. It will look to address any issues around body image and negative thought patterns, emphasising the importance of self-care and the value of our relationship with food. Following an initial assessment and consultation, the treatment model will be tailored to the individual needs of the patient, with a programme of individual therapies prescribed including: Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), attachment therapy, Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Psychodynamic therapy.

Commenting on the launch of the new service, Dr Bijal Chheda Varma, joint-lead of the Nightingale Hospital Obesity Service therapy team said: “The UK is at risk of entering an obesity crisis, with patient numbers soaring. We appreciate that bariatric surgery has an important role to play, however by addressing the underlying psychological triggers for overeating, our carefully tailored programme of therapy offers a more sustainable, cost-efficient and non-invasive solution.”

Dr Eric Johnson Sabine, Clinical Lead, Obesity Service at Nightingale Hospital added: “Whilst we understand that in the long term, policy changes aimed at prevention are ultimately the key to resolving the obesity crisis, there are meanwhile a number of individuals who have already become obese and who require help. Surgery is a dramatic step and one that we feel should only be taken once other methods such as diet, exercise, drug therapy and weight reduction classes have failed. We therefore believe that the launch of the new Obesity Service at Nightingale Hospital, with its pioneering programme of therapy, will prove a valuable tool in tackling one of our nation’s greatest health challenges”.

The first patients will undergo treatment from November 2012 onwards. Prices for a year’s course of treatment start from £4,300. Find out more about the Obesity and Weight Management Programme.

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