NHS spends £45m on obesity equipment
30th December 2008
Hospitals are having to spend millions on Reinforced chairs and beds, operating tables and heavy-duty ambulances, which are disclosed in figures obtained the Freedom of Information Act. It has been discovered that £21.4m has been spent on reinforced beds, with the NHS now owning at least 10,715. They include two beds at hospitals run by St Helens and Knowsley NHS Trust in Liverpool which can each take patients weighing up to 65 stone (413kg). A further £11m has been spent on reinforced operating tables; £7.4m on heavy-duty ambulances that can carry obese patients; £2.2m on reinforced trolleys; and £700,000 on reinforced chairs. Homerton University Hospital in East London has some chairs that are capable of withstanding weights of up to 79 kg (502kg), while North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Trust has a 'powered chair / trolley' that can take patients of up to 48 stone (305kg). Hospitals have also spent £900,000 on hiring such equipment, according to the figures unearthed by Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary. He said the Government had failed to tackle obesity, which has "now emerged as one of the greatest public health threats".