Obese 'referred in hundreds due to hospitals' lack of equipment investment'
A lack of investment by hospitals in equipment to scan obese patients is responsible for hundreds of referrals elsewhere within the NHS, a charity has claimed.
Each year NHS trusts across the country have to send patients elsewhere because they are too heavy for their scanning equipment.
But as "the fat were getting fatter", the National Obesity Forum has said this should never need to happen if hospitals had planned ahead properly.
A Freedom of Information request by the Press Association has revealed a number of incidents during the last three years where hospitals who responded were unable to perform a scan.
St George's University Hospitals NHS Trust in London has had to refer 102 patients elsewhere due to their weight.
Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust and Frimley Health Trust had to refer 48 patients each and Worcestershire Acute Hospitals Trust made 41 referrals for 34 patients.
Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust had 31 cases, London North West Healthcare NHS Trust had 26 and North Tees & Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust had 11.
And two children at Birmingham Children's Hospital were too large to be scanned.
A spokesman from the Obesity Forum, a charity that seeks to raise awareness of obesity, said: "Every district general hospital should now never need to transfer their patients for scans.
"The economic case for investing in their own scanner could have been made years ago when it became clear that obesity numbers were not about to decline.
"Indeed, the fat were getting fatter and therefore likely to require more scanning episodes.
"Despatching patients to hospitals miles away is both cumulatively expensive for the hospital and degrading for the individual."
Doncaster and Bassetlaw Hospitals said they referred six patients and James Paget University Hospitals Trust, Norfolk, had four cases.
The chief medical officer said recently that obesity should be treated as a national priority and recommended the Government should include the issue on its national risk planning.
Professor Dame Sally Davies also warned of the effect it has on woman in pregnancy and their unborn children.
By 2050 obesity is predicted to affect 60% of adult men, 50% of adult women and 25% of children.