NHS Borders spends £384,000 on beds for obese patients

NHS Borders have revealed that they have spent £384,000 over the past five years on beds which can cater for patients weighing up to 42 stone.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 4:00 pm
Updated Wednesday, 29th September 2010, 4:00 pm

NHS boards throughout Scotland released figures showing just how much they'd spent on such beds following a Freedom of Information request from the Press Association and although like other boards, NHS Borders weren't able to provide specific financial figures from January 2008, they declared that between 2005/6 and 2009/10 they spent 18,531 on beds for patients weighing up to 28 stone; 302,335 for patients up to 39 stone and 27,200 on patients up to 42 stone.

The Board, who unlike some of their counterparts do not provide a bariatric (weight loss) surgery service, said that as they continue to replace standard beds, they are replacing them with beds which can support patients up to 39 stone. Beds for patients weighing up to 42 stone are available within hospital wards in the region, however, when not required by obese patients, they are in general use. The use of these beds by obese patients is not recorded.

And when questioned as to whether they have had to use beds for patients weighing up to 50 stone, the Board said that since January 1 2008 they had required to do so on three occasions, at a cost of 595.00(85.00 per day), 588.00 (55.00 per day)and 712.00 (89.00 perday)respectively.

Sign up to our daily Berwickshire News Today newsletter

A spokesperson for NHS Borders added that in these cases, and in any future instances, where specialist beds need to be hired due to a higher weight capacity, the cost is not charged to the patient themselves.

Neighbouring NHS Dumfries & Galloway, along with NHS Ayrshire and NHS Annan said the highest weight bed the health board could take was 71 stone.

The Freedom of Information request by the Press Association revealed that seven NHS boards had spent more than 154,000 since 2008 on the bariatric beds.

At least five health boards have also spent thousands hiring beds for patients weighing more than 50 stone.

NHS Fife confirmed it had bought three bariatric beds for people weighing up to 78 stone in February 2009 at a cost of 24,000 for all three and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, which has beds that can cater for people weighing up to 65 stone, said it hired beds to support a weight up to 78 stones, when needed.

These figures were released just a day before results from the Scottish Healthy Survey showed a decrease in the number of people classed as overweight for the first time since 1995, when the survey began.