President’s Message

Obesity is a disease not a choice

It has been a busy few months for BOMSS Council, notwithstanding the pleasant summer weather.

We continue to push the case for political understanding that obesity is a disease, and that bariatric surgery is the most effective proven treatment, saving healthcare costs as well as restoring health to individuals. We need cross-party political backing to secure decent funding for bariatric surgery so we can scale up and start to treat people at the levels seen in neighbouring European countries.

The updated Aims and Objectives of the society highlight our commitment to securing the future of bariatric surgery. BOMSS must remain recognised as the UK’s specialist society for bariatric / metabolic surgery professionals and we want to promote promote access to care through an increase in UK bariatric procedure numbers from current levels of around 6,000 procedures a year to over 20,000 within five years.

BOMSS Council remains concerned about the apparent decline in number of state-funded bariatric procedures. This has implications for training, particularly as a portion of NHS activity is carried out in the private sector without the training schemes of NHS centres.

Rachel Batterham is working tirelessly with the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Obesity and the Obesity Health Alliance. A recent APPG report, The Current Landscape of Obesity Services, is well worth reading.

Dr Yitka Graham has been appointed as BOMSS national research lead, She will map research activities currently undertaken in various bariatric units, survey BOMSS members, set up a research section on our website and assess current available resources. This will assist co-ordination of research effort nationally and provide an accessible overview of what’s going on.

Additionally, we are determined to maintain and strengthen the multi-professional / multi-disciplinary structure of BOMSS and offer improved education packages.

A new position of BOMSS lead for education and training has been created and Marco Adamo has taken on this important role. Marco will work with the Royal Colleges, trainees and the SAC in Surgery and will report back to Council.

The NBSR remains our professional safeguard and it continues to generate high quality data showcasing the benefits of bariatric and metabolic surgery. The Version 2 upgrade incorporating NHS numbers is online. The Clinical Outcomes Publication (COP) 2016-17 can be seen here and will be  followed by publication of COP 2017-18 in a few months. We hope that reporting of all bariatric activity in the private sector will become mandatory in the near future. NBSR continues to be a leading contributor to IFSO global registry.

Looking ahead, the next BOMSS ASM will be held in Belfast from 24-25 January, 2019 and planning is already well-advanced. Rachel Batterham is chair of the scientific committee, David Kerrigan chairs the local organising committee and Chandra Cheruvu represents council to industry partners.

I am pleased to welcome Ahmed Ahmed, Cynthia Michelle-Borg and Corinne Owers (Trainee representative) to BOMSS council. We are here to serve our members and to promote Bariatric surgery. Please help us by contacting us with your views and ideas.

Mr Shaw Somers
BOMSS President