NHS contributing to the obesity problem, says Sally Norton

A weight loss surgeon has condemned the NHS itself for contributing to the problem of obesity and diabetes, by having vending machines for snacks and Costa coffee shops in their hospitals.

Sally Norton, an NHS consultant that specialises in weight loss and upper gastrointestinal surgery said that she finds it “frustrating and frankly, embarrassing to spend time in the clinic, explaining to my patients how sugary drinks and snacks are one of the biggest drivers of obesity, when I know that just outside in our hospital foyer are not one, but two Costa coffee shops, as well as vending machines stocked full of coke and chocolate.

“I no longer shake the hands of patients as they come in through the clinic door-more often than not, they are clutching their Costa take-outs, which they have been tempted into buying while waiting for their consultation. I know I can’t be the only one who thinks that a hospital should be setting a good example for its patients, visitors and its staff.”

Ms Norton is not the only one concerned by the problem of the NHS contributing to the obesity problem. Earlier this year, NHS England chief executive Simon Stevens gave the instructions for doctors and nurses to slim down, after it was discovered that 700,000 medical staff were eight overweight or obese.

Also, obesity and health problems related to it now accounts for more than a third of the £110bn NHS budget: “It is hard to talk about how important this is if we don’t get our act together.”

According to research made in February by Public Health England, nearly two-thirds of adults in England are overweight, with a quarter being obese, meaning that they weigh at least a fifth more than they normally should.

“The government seems unable to take a significant stand against the insidious pervasiveness of the food industry,” Ms Norton continued. “but the NHS can and should take a stand. If we can’t be the leading light in promoting healthy eating, then who can? Shame on us, for allowing most of our hospitals to play willing hosts to the fast food outlets that are contributing to our health crisis.”

“Enough is enough- let’s face up to our responsibilities as a health promotion service and a role model, and actually practice what we preach. We must ensure that these new recommendations are actioned quickly and properly.”

To learn about Sally and what she does, visit her website: http://www.sallynorton.co.uk/

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