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NHS spends millions on larger equipment for obese

The NHS has spent at least £7 million on adapting services and equipment to treat obese patients over the last five years, according to new figures.

The data, obtained by Sky News through Freedom of Information requests, revealed many NHS foundation trusts increased spending on bariatric provisions in the last two years.

Money was spent on items including bigger beds, wheelchairs and mortuary slabs, the broadcaster said.

The new figures come amid a row between health campaigners and the Government over the introduction of a sugar tax to help curb obesity.

Of 100 foundation trusts asked for information, around half responded suggesting the overall amount of money spent could be higher.

According to Sky News, the Heartlands Clinic in Birmingham, as part of the Heart of England NHS Foundation Trust, have invested in larger seating, beds, chairs and blood pressure cuffs.

Dr Ahmed Helmy, a consultant physician, told the broadcaster: "I think the challenge is to try and accommodate those obese patients without having the stigma."

Ambulance services have also had to expand their bariatric budgets, with figures released earlier this year showing there were more than 800 ambulances - often costing about £100,000 each - in the UK which have either been designed or adapted to deal with patients weighing more than 50 stone (318kg).

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