PATIENTS needing weight-loss surgery can now have their operation at Queen Alexandra Hospital.
Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust has won a bid to provide a new bariatric service to patients across the region.
This includes treatment such as gastric bands and bypasses.
Hospital officials anticipate it bringing around £5m worth of extra income over the next three years, and at least 200 extra patients a year.
The Cosham hospital is now getting ready to provide the new service by bringing in new resources and equipment to deal with larger patients – including bigger beds, chairs and toilets and special mats to transfer patients on to the operating table.
Bariatric surgeon Simon Toh, who will operate on patients at QA, says it is fantastic news for both patients and the hospital.
He said: ‘Before now Portsmouth hasn’t had a bariatric service and so this is great news for patients because they will now be able to have surgery at their local hospital whereas before they’ve had to go elsewhere.
‘Also this service will help address the serious obesity problem we have in Portsmouth and Hampshire, and address other problems such as diabetes which bariatric surgery can actually cure.
‘It will be a service for the whole region as well, as we’ll be treating patients from all over the south, not just Portsmouth – but from as north as Basingstoke, down to the Isle of Wight.
‘At first we anticipate treating about 200 people a year but it’s possible that very quickly the service will be inundated.
‘It’s going to be busy and there will be a lot of work.’
Up until now, patients from the Portsmouth area have had to go to St Richard’s Hospital in Chichester for weight-loss surgery, or further afield.
Those who now wish to go to QA will still need to go through the standard process of being referred by their GP for the weight-loss surgery.
Operations are expected to start in August.
Mr Toh, who is also the clinical director for surgery, added: ‘We spent six months trying to secure this service and bring it to QA and it’s been a lot of hard work.
‘It’s great news for the hospital because it’s a new service and will be bringing in extra money which the hospital badly needs.’