Surgery alone is not ‘a final fix’ for obesity, advocate warns – Feb 2024

Surgery on its own is not the answer to obesity and many people having procedures abroad will also need long-term supports back in Ireland — often to their shock, a leading advocate said.

Susie Birley, advocate with the Irish Coalition for People Living with Obesity, said it advises discussing the consequences of surgery with doctors in Ireland first.

“People don’t always understand that bariatric surgery isn’t just a final fix, you don’t just have surgery and be fixed. Obesity doesn’t work like that,” she said.

“Our service does an assessment of you as a person, what is going on in your life, your psychology. They look at you holistically and see what is it you need.

“Then you go forward for consideration as to whether surgery is an option for you,” she said.

However, with current waiting lists of up to five years while patients wait for a planned national roll-out of new clinics, Ms Birley said she is seeing more interest in travelling abroad.

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