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Hospital treatments for obese soar

The number of obese patients who need hospital treatment has soared from 1,800 to nearly 9,000 in just five years.

Between 2006 and 2007, the NHS in England conducted 1,800 bariatric procedures, where the patient's primary diagnosis was obesity, and this figure soared to 8,600 last year.

The data, from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC), also shows that there were 304,200 hospital admissions wholly attributable to alcohol in 2011/12 - a 27.9% rise from 2008/09.

And the number of hospital procedures paid for by the NHS but carried out by the private sector has increased by nearly 11% in one year, according to the figures.

Private providers treated 345,200 non-emergency NHS patients between 2011 and 2012, a rise of 32,900 patients in the previous year - or a 10.5% increase.

This private treatment accounted for 4.3% of all NHS "elective admissions".

HSCIC chief executive Tim Straughan said: "Hospital Episode Statistics have the potential to offer an incredibly rich and detailed picture of the activity happening within secondary care in this country.

"The figures also provide an insight into the relationship between the NHS and the private sector; in terms of the volume and type of work dealt with by private providers on behalf of the health service.

"Today's report shows that NHS hospital activity continues to grow on a yearly basis - with admissions passing 15 million in England in 2011/12."

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