President’s Message

“Bariatric surgery works”

This is a time of great anxiety for the NHS. Those services that are vulnerable to the vagaries of political and public opinion face an uncertain future. Bariatric surgery – and the wider management of metabolic problems associated with obesity – will be in the firing line as services square up to be accepted. Despite all the evidence we have in support of developing and expanding what we do, we still find prejudice, while ignorance amongst colleagues and health service managers is one of our most challenging barriers.

The NBSR is our key to all debates regarding the future. Our data is amongst the best healthcare outcome data there is. Our actual outcomes are world class. The NBSR deserves our continuing promotion and support from NHS Trusts. I would urge those of you that undertake private bariatric work to ask your private hospitals to source their private activity and outcome data from NBSR.

I believe the society now needs to engage outwardly to sell the story that “bariatric surgery works” both for patients and the healthcare economy. We may debate (even argue!) about which procedure, when, how etc, but that should be reserved for our meetings and educational sessions. We must provide a united face to patients, the media and the profession that our work is effective. We must resist giving to media or colleagues opinions about which procedure we feel is best (in our hands) or what doesn’t work. This is often quoted back to me as “well, parents regain all their weight” or that “bands don’t work”. The NBSR data says the oposite! Our job is to determine for each procedure how and when they do best, but they all do work. Hopefully, the By-Band-Sleeve study will give some answers to these questions.

IFSO 2017 London (August 29 – September 2) will be with us soon. It promises to be a great showcase for our work and a marvellous opportunity to network with our colleagues from across the world. The pre-congress courses will draw on the worlds’ experts and I would encourage you all to consider supporting these by attending a course.

Our 2018 BOMSS ASM will be in Telford Conference centre (Shropshire) 24-26 January, 2018. We will construct a programme that offers a slightly different take on the norm, perhaps focussing on commissioning, team structure and practice-based issues that we all face day to day.

Finally, BOMSS council is keen to learn what the membership want the society to achieve. We will be sending out a survey and would welcome comments from the membership.

Mr Shaw Somers
BOMSS President (the one without the combover!)