29 Sep 2011

More weight loss surgery funded

10:37 am on 29 September 2011

The Ministry of Health says there has been a 33% increase in publicly-funded weight loss surgery over the past year, with 350 morbidly obese people having operations.

It says that was made possible by a Government funding boost announced last October of $8 million over four years.

The ministry's manager of elective services, Clare Perry, says 414 operations are to be provided next year - two-thirds of them in Auckland and Northland.

The extra money has enabled Wellington's Capital and Coast DHB to increase the number of operations offered from six to 12 per year for Wellingtonians, and a further 14 for the region including Wairarapa and Palmerston North this year.

Surgeons say the morbidly obese are discriminated against because of a perceived lack of willpower, but the surgery works and often rids a person of diabetes and sleep apnoea as well.