Sunderland ‘Weight Loss Ward’ patients return to TV

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NATIONAL television cameras will once again put a Wearside weight loss ward in the spotlight.

Following a successful two-part series at the end of last year, Weight Loss Ward, focusing on the work carried out by staff to help patients.

Consultant Peter Small with a model of a stomach with gastro band fitted.

Consultant Peter Small with a model of a stomach with gastro band fitted.

The programmes, watched by more than one million people each time, showed how many obese people struggle to shift the pounds once becoming dangerously overweight.

It featured dad Terry Gardner, of Hetton, who had ballooned to more than 47st in weight, as medics tried to get him to diet so that he could be eligible for surgery.

Hospital bosses have now confirmed that producers will be returning to the site to film in the ward again.

In 2011, four surgeons on the ward performed more than 600 operations on the ward to try and help clinically obese patients change their lives, including the insertion of gastric bands and balloons.

Peter Small, a consultant surgeon who works on the weight loss ward at the Royal, said the show had “opened people’s eyes” to the chronic obesity problem facing Sunderland.

A spokesman for City Hospitals Sunderland confirmed that “filming on the next three programmes is due to start shortly”.

He said: “We are pleased to be helping with the production of another series of Weight Loss Ward for ITV.

“The first programmes helped raise awareness of the problems of obesity in the North East, the procedures that are available to patients and how the latter responded to treatment.

Gastric surgery costs about £8,000 per patient.

However, the cost of this can be recovered within two years as long as those operated on then stay off medication.

About 40 per cent of people within Sunderland are classed as being overweight, with the condition often leading to serious health problems such as diabetes, asthma, high cholesterol and high blood pressure.

“Bariatric surgery is not suitable or appropriate for everyone,” added the spokesman.

“As well as proving that they are able to make the lifestyle and dietary changes required, both before and after surgery, patients go through in depth analyses before decisions are made on the next phase of treatment.

“Surgery is only one of a series of responses to the obesity crisis – radical individual lifestyle changes to diet are essential, as is the responsibility of all health and local authority agencies to promote exercise and sport in their communities, and for food and drinks manufacturers to give prominence to healthy alternatives in marketing and advertising to support future generations in leading healthier lives.”

l The next series of Weight Loss Ward is expected to air later this year.

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