On Tuesday 11th May 2017 bat 21.00 hrs. Professor Rachel Batterham will be presenting the programme "Obesity: how prejudiced is the NHS?" on BBC2
Britain has a serious problem with obesity - and the medical cost is threatening to bankrupt our health service. Professor Rachel Batterham, head of the obesity services at University College Hospital and a research scientist, presents this current affairs documentary. In it, Rachel explores whether there is 'fat prejudice' against obese patients within parts of the NHS that is stopping them accessing a potentially cost-effective surgery, even when recent scientific research supports it.
Professor Batterham considers obesity to be a disease that needs specialist treatment, including weight-loss surgery, whereas many others contend that it is a lifestyle choice. She meets several NHS patients who say they were made to feel 'not worthy' and were denied life-changing bariatric surgery and other routine operations. This seems to show evidence of a bias within the health service. She also speaks to others who have tried to use the NHS weight management services, with one admitting it actually made her gain two stone. Professor Batterham speaks to bariatric surgeon Chris Pring and people that have had weight loss surgery to examine the dramatic effect gastric bypasses can have on person's lifestyle and overall health - and how it can even cure other weight-related illnesses.
In the programme, she also meets patients who are successfully using the diet and lifestyle programme called Tier 3 services, which the NHS require them to do for two whole years before being considered for surgery. Could weight loss surgery actually be a more cost-effective method of treatment for the NHS?
Ben Caplin (UCL Centre for Nephrology) was featured in an Observer article accompanying a Wellcome Images Award winning photograph highlighting the kidney disease affecting the rural population of Nicaragua.
Over the past two decades, there has been a marked increase in deaths from kidney failure across Central America due to an unknown cause. This condition, termed Mesoamerican nephropathy, is reaching epidemic proportions. It is now the leading cause of death amongst working age men in Nicaragua and is devastating the rural communities in the region where treatments for kidney failure such as dialysis or transplantation are unavailable.
UCL researchers have been awarded a prestigious EU H2020 TEAMING grant, in collaboration with a consortium of Portuguese Universities led by Prof Rui Reis at the University of Minho. The UCL team is led by Prof Jonathan Knowles, UCL Eastman Dental Institute. The other UCL investigators include Richard Day (Division of Medicine), Ivan Wall (Department of Biochemical Engineering), Giampietro Schiavo (Institute of Neurology), Andreas Schätzlein (School of Pharmacy), Vivek Mudera (Division of Surgery), Tim McHugh (Division of Infection and Immunity), Jane Kinghorn (Translational Research Office). The total value of the EU H2020 grant is €15M, of which UCL have been awarded €5.1M as part of the scheme. Portuguese partners will leverage additional national funding to an impressive total of around €100M over the 7 years duration of the grant. A key overarching focus for the TEAMING award will be to capture and accelerate clinical, innovation and enterprise activities.