Message from the Secretary

January 2018
Mr Vinod Menon

BOMSS had the privilege to host the spectacular IFSO 2017 meeting at the QE2 Conference centre in London last autumn. The delegate numbers were at an all-time high of 2,758 from 82 countries, almost 800 attended the 10 pre-congress courses, including 21 live operating sessions. Those on sleeve gastrectomy, one anastomosis gastric bypass, primary care and integrated health and revisional bariatric surgery were highly popular. Over a 1,000 high quality papers and posters of scientific interest were presented. ‘Scopinaro lecture’ by the highly acclaimed international explorer Sir Ranulph Fiennes was truly inspirational. Special thanks are due to Richard Wellbourn and Cynthia Michelle-Borg for all the planning and hard work in making this meeting a grand success.

The social events provided excellent opportunity for networking with colleagues from all round the world, the meeting venue showcasing the elegance and beauty of London in the summer and the Gala Dinner at the Royal Maritime Museum at Greenwich including the journey by boat on the Thames were very well received. We are indeed very grateful to our Professional Congress Organiser – ‘TFI Limited’. The support from industry partners was overwhelming and all of the above contributed to a substantial surge in the society’s coffers. BOMSS council will be discussing this in depth at our next meeting with a view to supporting sustainable programmes aimed at education, teaching and training of full members and AHPs. We are also very keen to look at how the success of this meeting could be translated in to empowering patients and improving their care.

The NBSR committee chaired by Marco Adamo continues to work hard to develop the Version 2 upgrade jointly with Dendrite in time for our annual meeting in January 2018. Several high quality presentations and posters based on NBSR data were presented at IFSO meeting, we are the single largest contributor to the IFSO global registry, we continue to engage with HQIP towards producing clinical outcomes publication and also with individual trusts who contribute to the running costs of the registry in return for validated information on activity and outcomes. The NBSR committee is working closely with Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) to ensure our membership are fully aware of the recent changes including data capture and analysis of outcomes in the private sector. This is mandatory from the current financial year. NBSR has evolved to be ‘the jewel on our crown’ and there are exciting times ahead.

Guidance documents on social media policy, mesenteric defect closure following gastric bypass as well as on private practice are scheduled to be uploaded on our website in the very near future.

The relationship between BOMSS and AUGIS continues to get stronger, our session at the AUGIS ASM at Cork was well attended and discussions are ongoing towards a joint meeting in the next 2-3 years. We will be working jointly with AUGIS in setting up a new membership data base and subscription collection system and members will be reminded shortly to renew their direct debit instructions.

Manel Riera and colleagues from Telford have put together a fantastic training day and scientific programme for the 9th BOMSS ASM at the International Convention Centre Telford from 24 to 26 January. We have an impressive list of international speakers including Prof Michel Gagner (sleeve gastrectomy & reflux oesophagitis), Prof Alfredo Genco (endoscopic aspects of bariatric surgery particularly gastric balloons), Prof Torsten Olbers (Adolescent bariatric surgery) and Prof Patou (Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease). The support from industry partners has been excellent as always and I look forward to welcoming everyone to Telford for what promises to be a great meeting.

The 3rd winter BOMSS meeting will be held from 24 to 28 March at Covara, Italy. Marco Adamo will be organising this once again building on the success of the two previous meetings.

June 2017

BOMSS enjoyed a memorable Annual Scientific Meeting at Alton Towers  earlier this year. Chandra Cheruvu as local organiser laid on a fantastic scientific and social programme with several international speakers led by Dr Kelvin Higa (USA), the current President of IFSO. The Training Day was very well received and catered to the needs of all segments of delegates. The content of the meeting was truly multi-disciplinary and, as always, allied health professionals formed a significant number of the delegates. Dr Higa was effusive in his praise when he said the meeting was one of the best he has attended, particularly in terms of the content and the friendly atmosphere.

Shaw Somers took over from Roger Ackroyd as President after the AGM. Roger was thanked for his valuable contribution to BOMSS over the years in various executive positions. Jim Byrne succeeded me as Treasurer.

NBSR – the jewel on our crown – is maturing into a fantastic product and the newly-elected Chair of NBSR, Marco Adamo, is now an Executive Member on BOMSS Council. Marco, along with a new committee, will carry on the excellent work of Richard Welbourn and colleagues. Richard has kindly agreed to continue as Advisor and the new committee greatly values this. There are several work streams in progress including a Version 2 upgrade incorporating NHS numbers, negotiations with Dendrite and HQIP regarding clinical outcomes publications, interface with IFSO global registry (NBSR being one of the largest contributors) and more. We have managed to secure financial contributions from NHS Trusts towards this work and are putting in place dedicated administrative support.

BOMSS gets ready to host IFSO 2017 from 29 August – 2 September at the QE2 Conference Centre in central London. IFSO is the world’s largest annual congregation of professionals involved in management of morbid obesity and it will be a landmark event in our history. The local organising and scientific committees headed by Richard Welbourn and Cynthia Michelle-Borg have done a fantastic job, ably supported by TFI, our professional conference organiser. There will be 10 pre-Congress courses including ones on sleeve gastrectomy and one anastomosis gastric bypass. The gala dinner will be at the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich following a cruise along the Thames. I would urge all of you to join and enjoy what promises to be a great experience in every sense.

Over the last 12 months there have been several reports emphasising the role of bariatric / metabolic surgery in treating Type 2 Diabetes. One would have expected this to be associated with an increasing number of operations. Unfortunately NBSR data suggests this is not the case. The revised commissioning guidance (2017) developed by BOMSS and RCS England and endorsed by a number of specialist societies and other Royal Colleges is on our website and will help colleagues in supporting discussions with commissioners. FOI data collated by RCSE has thrown light on the commissioning intent of CCGs

David Kerrigan and Jim Byrne have worked really hard to secure a modest increase in bariatric tariff for 2017-2019. BOMSS Council discussed and agreed that we should continue to work with Monitor and NHSE to ensure there is a fairer uplift going forward from 2019. We will keep members updated on this regularly.

A number of you would have watched Rachel Batterham’s amazing prime time TV programme recently showcasing the benefits of bariatric surgery and the barriers faced in accessing this. Rachel has also been instrumental in setting up the Obesity Empowerment Network and I would urge you all to check out the OEN website to appreciate the good work.

Hearty congratulations to AHP member of council Mary O’Kane on her election as IH Chair of IFSO, in recognition of Mary’s superb work. This is indeed a huge honour for BOMSS as well.

The feedback from delegates at the 2nd BOMSS winter meeting at Corvara in March was excellent in terms of scientific content, discussions, skiing and social programme. Marco is already confirming the venue for early next year and will hopefully be a recurring event on our calendar.

BOMSS and AUGIS executives work very closely and I am grateful to Steve Fenwick for his support and close interaction during my tenure as Treasurer. Our financial position is stable and safe in Jim’s hands. We look forward to delivering an interesting BOMSS parallel session at AUGIS in September 2017

The next BOMSS ASM will be held at the International Convention Centre Telford from 24-26 January 2018. Manel Riera (Shrewsbury) is heading the local organising committee

Have an enjoyable summer and I look forward to seeing all of you at IFSO London in September.

January 2017
Mr Shaw Somers

shaw-somersBOMSS has continued to mature as a society and we are now ready to embark on a new phase of engagement with our membership. We need to support members in their work with professional advice and data to support interactions with their hospitals and commissioners. It is also necessary to ensure that surgeons are practicing in a comprehensive environment in order to minimise patient risk and comply with guidance in both NHS and independent sectors (IHAS 2014).

Having breathed a sigh of relief at the successful negotiations of tariff increase in 2015, we found ourselves yet again bearing the brunt of a 30% decrease in NHS tariffs for bariatric procedures because of a fundamental misunderstanding of bariatric surgical work. Our negotiating team swung into action, armed with NBSR data to defend our previous tariff levels. I think the deal we have reached is as much as we could hope for in these difficult times for the NHS.

We look forward to our forthcoming 8th Scientific meeting in Alton Towers, which Mr Chandra Cheruvu has organised. The venue promises to be excellent (even though the rides are closed!) and the programme should fuel much discussion.

Back by popular demand is the BOMSS ski meeting in Corvara, Italian Dolomites 25-29 March 2017. Last year’s meeting was lively and popular. Places are limited, so book now to avoid disappointment.

This will be my final message as BOMSS secretary. I have enjoyed the challenge in helping my colleagues Roger Ackroyd and Vinod Menon keep the society on an even keel in these difficult times. I look forward to continuing the work with the latter colleague as secretary, while I take up the Presidential baton.


June 2016 – Message from BOMSS Honorary Secretary
Mr Shaw Somers

The summer report from BOMSS comes with a more upbeat tone than recent times. Thanks to the patient efforts of Mr Byrne and Mr Kerrigan on behalf of BOMSS council, negotiations with Monitor have led to a significant increase in tariff for the new bariatric procedure codes. This should significantly ease the financial pressure on our NHS services over the coming financial year. There is still work to do, as sleeve gastrectomy is still classed as ‘restrictive surgery’ and grouped with gastric banding. Negotiations continue, and we are being heard.

The Annual Scientific meeting in Cardiff was a great success. Our thanks go to Mr Jon Barry for organising a great venue and hosting us so well. Our guest speakers from France, Prof J-M Chevalier and Dr David Nocca were most impressed with the multi-disciplinary nature of our meeting and the level of the debate during sessions. They gave thought-provoking talks on one-anastomosis bypass and the future evolution of sleeve gastrectomy. Feedback was very positive, and ideas are already coming together for sessions at our next meeting in January 2017 at Alton Towers.

Plans are now rapidly progressing for IFSO 2017 in London. Mr Richard Welbourn and Ms Cynthia Borg continue to work hard leading the organisation, whilst grappling with the intricacies of IFSO politics and bureaucracy. We look forward to hosting the congress in late August 2017, and the pre-congress courses which should be of significant interest to UK and European delegates.

The work of the NBSR committee in securing our position within the NHS continues to grow. As government agencies continue to struggle with accuracy of clinical data and outcomes, we are able to clearly demonstrate these from our own registry. The role of NBSR in helping “to get our house in order” cannot be overstated and has placed us very much in NHS England’s good books. Time will tell if this translates into any concessions regarding patient access and tariff increase. The proposed publication of private patient data in April 2017 has been discussed with FIPO chairman, Mr Glazer. He has offered to collate the responses to the data request, and will be negotiating with PHIN on behalf of all the specialities involved. BOMSS and the NBSR committee remain in close discussion with FIPO on this, and have outlined the difficulty in meaningful patient reported outcomes (one of PHIN’s requirements) from bariatric patients.

Finally, your honorary secretary has just returned from a lecture tour of Australia and New Zealand, and has learned much which could help promote bariatric surgery in the UK. I look forward to working on this over the coming months.

Best wishes for a good summer

January 2016 – Message from BOMSS Honorary Secretary

Mr Shaw Somers

Bariatric surgery has faced significant challenges over the last year, principally following a fiasco centred around the new NHS tariff system for bariatric surgery. With the introduction of new procedure codes for
primary gastric bypass, sleeve gastrectomy and gastric banding, Monitor was tasked with pricing up an appropriate HRG tariff. Unfortunately, the new tariffs were not only almost half the previous tariff value, but sleeve gastrectomy was reclassified with gastric banding! Most bariatric services found themselves working at a significant financial loss for 2015-16. BOMSS council has been active in negotiating with the various NHS bodies involved in tariff setting and we hope that common sense will prevail and a higher tariff will be agreed.

The importance of correct coding of procedure and comorbidities on NHS discharge summaries cannot be over emphasised. I would advise all upper GI services re-examine and confirm their coding procedures to be sure their service remains financially viable in these difficult times.

Publication of the second NBSR report in November 2014 was successful and further underlines the good work done in bariatric centres across the country. The NBSR subcommittee has been very busy negotiating with HQIP on behalf of our BOMSS members. The increasing demand for more detailed surgeons’ outcome data is being deftly managed. However, the proposed publication of outcome and pricing data from the private sector will throw further work to this important group over the coming year. BOMSS will be working with PHIN, the agency responsible for this initiative, to ensure BOMSS member’s interests are best served.

BOMSS continues to prepare for hosting IFSO 2017. This promises to be a significant meeting in the world surgical calendar and we anticipate a turnout of over 2000 delegates from around the world. The QEII conference centre has been booked for the end of August 2017, and venues are being selected for the various associated social functions. Any suggestions or offers of help will be gratefully received.



August 2015 -Message from the BOMSS Honorary Secretary
Mr Shaw Somers

BOMSS members continue to enjoy the successful annual meeting. Earlier this year members met in Gosforth in the North-east for three days of education and social discourse. The meeting was well attended with over 300 delegates. This was a truly multidisciplinary event, with a significant proportion of allied health professionals and trainees amongst the attendees. The lectures were packed and the venue proved ideal. Thanks to Sean Woodcock and Peter Small for the organisation.

Next year the meeting is in Cardiff (January 27-29). Mr Roger Ackroyd took office as BOMSS president following the AGM, and thanks were given to Richard Welbourn for his wholehearted commitment during his tenure.

Spring and summer 2015 has seen some radical changes in the UK Bariatric scene. The second NBSR report was published in the autumn. BOMSS acknowledges the significant effort he has put into this work and into his leadership of the NBSR committee. Dealing with HQIP on our behalf is frustrating and time-consuming, but BOMSS is well represented by Richard and the NBSR committee.

Revised NICE guidance for the management of severe and complex obesity (CG189) has been published and is strongly supportive of surgical intervention as an effective and cost-efficient way of managing this disease. One would think that given the evidence NHS England would invest in these services in order to save in the long run. However, we were to discover quite the opposite.

Most AUGIS and BOMSS members will be aware of the “squeeze” on NHS HRG tariffs from April 2015. This continues to put pressure on complex surgical services and affects us all. At some point, the profession will have to stand up, denounce this mendacious process and propose an alternative way of reimbursing hospitals for complex surgical work. Bariatric surgery has been given three specific new codes which, when applied, results in a 40-60% decrease in reimbursement compared with existing tariffs. For all Bariatric units this will make primary bariatric surgery a loss-making enterprise. BOMSS is aware that some units have negotiated a package tariff for primary bariatric surgery, but the pressure to adhere to PbR will make any attempts to negotiate these very difficult.

BOMSS Council is hard at work trying to discover creative ways of circumventing these tariff changes without breaking rules. We will keep members informed of developments and keep negotiating with the relevant authorities.

The attempted transfer of commissioning from NHS England to CCGs was strongly resisted by BOMSS and the CCGs who did not feel ready to adopt commissioning for this complex field. A one-year deferral period has been agreed, and we await further plans from NHS England as the new financial year progresses.

Finally, plans are progressing well for IFSO 2017 in central London. The venue will be the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre in Westminster, opposite the Houses of Parliament. This promises to be one of IFSO’s more popular meetings with over 2,000 delegates expected. We look forward to seeing all BOMSS members there at the end of August 2017.

December 2014
Message from BOMSS Honorary Secretary

Preparations continue for the organisation of the world congress of IFSO 2017 in London. This will be hosted by BOMSS and should be a landmark meeting for us. We are shortly to formulate the organising committee and will be contacting those members interested in helping.

We have completed the first round of guidance and position statements which can be seen here. I would encourage all BOMSS members to read these, comment to us and quote them whenever necessary to support their own service development.

BOMSS also undertook representation on the new NICE CG43 guidance which further stengthens the case for bariatric surgery provision in the NHS.

Those who ventured to IFSO Montreal experienced a great meeting with over 2,000 delegates. Whilst the various techniques continue to mature and their place in bariatric management become better defined, the basic science sessions reinforced our lack of understanding for the mechanisms of action of our most common procedures!

The BOMSS session at the annual AUGIS meeting in Brighton was well attended, and its appeal to the general upper GI surgeon well received.

The latest issue to hit the headlines for bariatric surgery is the proposed change in NHS tariff. Three new codes have been proposed for primary bariatric interventions. Taken broadly, they equate to approximately 40% reduction in the reimbursements to hospitals per procedure. By RM calculations, this is unsustainable. We have made representations to Monitor, which is responsible for advising NHS England. Whilst bariatric surgery seems unfairly penalised, the general reduction in tariff can only spell more misery for trust finance managers. Sooner rather than later, the professional associations ought to group together and start to push back on this issue.

We look forward to our 2015 meeting in Gosforth, Newcastle, which has been organised by Mr Sean Woodcock and Mr Peter Small. It promises to be a worthy gathering, both academic and social. I look forward to seeing you there.

Mr Shaw Somers
BOMSS Honorary Secretary

May 2014
Message from BOMSS Honorary Secretary

BOMSS continues to grow as a society. Numerically, we are attracting more AHP and consultant numbers, but we are also maturing into a society which is responsible for the promotion of bariatric surgery to government and also for the assistance of members with service development.

The continued challenges of counter-intuitive commissioning and Tier 3 service issues is a vexed problem. Only by engaging with policymakers are we likely to make progress away from unproven and unhelpful strategies. This takes much time and discussion but I am happy to say that we are making progress and can now count many prior sceptics as allies.

Our Fifth Annual Scientific Congress – held at Chesford Grange Hotel in Leamington Spa in January 2014 – was an outstanding success. The Training Day was well attended and uniformly well-received. I congratulate Mr Vinod Menon, BOMSS Treasurer and the local organising committee for organising the event and Ms Sally Norton and the scientific programme committee for lining up such an interesting and stimulating scientific programme.

BOMSS Council continues to discuss and publish guidance for surgeons, AHPs and commissioners. I would reiterate Mr Roger Ackroyd’s invitation to browse the website from time to time to keep updated with news and views. As always, comments and questions from members are welcome.

I look forward to seeing colleagues at the BOMSS Session of AUGIS 2014 in Brighton (September 18 – 19).

Mr Shaw Somers
BOMSS Honorary Secretary