U.K. Healthcare System Hit Hard by Obesity Trend

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U.K. Healthcare System Hit Hard by Obesity Trend

In America, health care is a private affair. In the UK, however, care is provided by the National Health Service, N-H-S a government system funded by the taxpayers. Entities called Primary Care Trusts, or PCTs, are the part of the NHS that provides everyday medical care at the community level.

But the rising tide of obesity in Britain is starting to sweep away the budgets of the PCTs. High demand for bariatric surgery plus the cost of specialist equipment needed to treat obese patients are swamping PCT budgets, and British health experts warn that current levels of spending on obesity care cannot be sustained.

Some PCTs are responding by simply refusing to provide weight loss surgery. A recent survey found that 25% of PCTs have refused requests for bariatric surgery due to the financial burden on the N-H-S.

The developments overseas may also foretell future burdens on the U.S. healthcare system.  American voters recently decided that some sort of taxpayer-supported healthcare system is in order – and one of the biggest issues the new system will face is the obesity epidemic.

Whether the U.S. health service authorities will restrict the number of people who can have weight loss surgery remains to be seen. However, by watching how the British health system deals with the dramatic rise in obesity cases, we can hopefully gain insight into how best to respond to our own obesity crisis here in the States.

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