200 await obesity clinic visit

THE country’s only health board-funded weight management clinic cannot give appointments to 200 people awaiting treatment for obesity because of pressure on services.

The East Coast Area Health Board (ESAHB) clinic had to close its service to new patients earlier this year. This was because the volume of people it was treating meant it could not meet new guidelines requiring clinic staff to see clients more frequently.

Dr Dónal O’Shea, consultant endocrinologist at the clinic in St Columcille’s Hospital, Loughlinstown, Co Dublin, said: “We have 500 attending. We have another 200 waiting in line to get an appointment who we can’t give one to.

“We have good support from the hospital (St Columcille’s), but we have totally outgrown where we are.”

Dr O’Shea described the clinic’s location - on the second floor of a building to the rear of the hospital and without a lift - as “a disaster” for obese patients, many who suffer from poor mobility and breathlessness and back and knee joint pain. He said the clinic also needed reinforced chairs, wider doors and weighing scales capable of measuring heavier weights. The clinic’s physiotherapist said specialised gym equipment was essential for patients on exercise programmes.

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