An assessment is underway for a bariatric surgery unit in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
Almost two-thirds of adults in Northern Ireland are overweight or obese and the Department of Health estimates that the direct and indirect costs of this were £457 million in 2015/16.
A planning group will now assess the need for a bariatric service, develop a bariatric surgery specification and examine the capability of the South West Acute Hospital in Enniskillen, County Fermanagh to deliver a service.
Consultant surgeon Mark Taylor, an AUGIS member, who is based in Belfast and is heading the group, said that he hoped the service could be in place by the start of next year.
Mr Taylor attended the BOMSS ASM in Belfast in January, along with other AUGIS Council members, which helped raise the profile of bariatric surgery.