Scottish Health Boards Spend Over £1.5 Million on Bariatric Beds

It has been confirmed recently that since 2008 Scottish hospitals have spent more than £154,000 on specialist bariatric beds for patients weighing more than 78 stone.

Seven out of fourteen health boards in Scotland are said to have spent this money on 871 beds including NHS Fife, NHS Grampian, NHS Western Isles, NHS Forth Valley amongst others - this is said to be in part due to the increasing obesity rate prevalent in Scotland. According the Food Standards Agency Scotland has the third highest rate of obesity among the developed nations after Mexico and the USA.

The obesity epidemic costs Scotland’s health service an estimated £175 million per year for the treatment of medical conditions linked to being overweight including high blood pressure, heart problems and type two diabetes. Unless action is taken immediately to remedy this growing epidemic, Scottish ministers have warned that 40% of the Scottish population could be classed as obese by 2030 costing an estimated 33 billion pounds a year to the health services there.

Dr David Haslam of the National Obesity Forum said “I welcome the increase in bariatric beds and equipment, as it is bad practice, insulting and demoralising for obese individuals for hospitals to not have beds big enough, and doors wide enough to accommodate them.”

A Scottish Executive spokesman said “In today’s economy every penny counts and this money could make a vital difference to other areas of the health service. Initiatives are already under way to help prevent obesity but we need to do much more to tackle this problem.”
Bariatric beds are generally built with a reinforced bed frame as well as a larger (wider and longer) sleeping platform and mattress. They are generally fully profiling and height adjustable with higher than usual clearance underneath the frame to accommodate a larger hoist or other equipment.

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