Experiences of accessing obesity surgery on the NHS: a qualitative study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Background Although surgical treatment is recommended for morbid obesity where other interventions have failed, there is evidence that access to NHS surgery is heavily rationed. This study aimed to investigate how patients experienced accessing referrals for obesity surgery.

Methods Data collection was undertaken using in-depth interviews with patients and clinicians working in a specialist secondary care facility, and analysis took a constant comparative approach.

Results Twenty-two participants with morbid obesity were followed up for a period of up to 3 years. All participants had made multiple attempts to lose weight prior to consulting their GPs yet felt this was rarely acknowledged by clinicians. Participants were frustrated when they received insufficient support to comply with primary care interventions, and when it came to obtaining a referral to secondary care, most had to raise this issue with GPs themselves.

Conclusions There is an urgent need for interventions for morbid obesity in primary care that are accessible to patients to facilitate weight loss and prevent weight re-gain. For those at very high weights, better integration between primary and secondary care is required to ensure appropriate and timely referral for those who need assessment for surgery.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-169
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Public Health (United Kingdom)
Issue number1
Early online date31 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2017

Structured keywords

  • Centre for Surgical Research


  • GPs morbid obesity obesity primary care qualitative


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