Obesity is a globally escalating problem, particularly in developed countries. In Australia, almost one third of adults suffer from obesity, with risks of poor health and shortened lifespan.
It also increases public health expenditure, and contributes significantly to productivity losses.
The cause of obesity is complex and multi-faceted.
A complex problem such as obesity can only be addressed by a comprehensive solution. For the first time in the Illawarra, a new clinic offers a comprehensive approach to weight management and obesity treatment.
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The Integrated Weight Management (IWM) Clinic commenced operations at the consulting suites of Figtree Private Hospital in August. It brings together bariatric physicians, endocrinologists, dieticians, psychologists and exercise physiologists, working alongside experienced bariatric surgeons to offer a variety of weight assessments and therapies.
Led by upper gastrointestinal tract and weight loss surgeon, Professor Peter Cosman from the Integrated Specialist Healthcare (ISHC) group, as well as Dr Jason Maani, it has been developed in conjunction with NSW Health and Ramsay Health Care while partnering with leading allied health providers and GPs.
“The initial multi-disciplinary assessment is bulk-billed, and no referral is required,” Prof Cosman said. “Treatment options are given to each patient and doctor.
“If appropriate, patients will then be placed on a fast-track pathway to bariatric surgery, without the need for further assessments. For patients with chronic health problems, we will work with their GP and specialists to optimise their health prior to making treatment decisions.
“Non-surgical treatments will also be available, all provided within the context of an integrated, multi-disciplinary, medically supervised weight management service.
“Patients will not generally require a referral, and will not usually incur a cost for the initial assessment. Costs associated with additional services are competitive, are fully disclosed prior to any treatment, and would normally attract rebates from Medicare and/or private health insurers, with the objective of improving access to services for as many patients as possible, and wherever possible, removing financial barriers to treatment.”
The Integrated Weight Management Clinic model is based on the successful models of integrated skin cancer and wound care that have been run by ISHC for three years and now including joint disease.
“Our focus is always on the patient,” said Professor Deva, ISHC director. “All Australians have the right to good quality healthcare but at an affordable price.”