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Older and overweight patients ‘hampering efforts to clear NHS backlogs’

Older and overweight patients are making it harder to clear NHS surgery backlogs, anaesthetists have warned.

New data reveal an “extremely worrying picture” of increasing age, rates of obesity and complexity of surgical patients across the UK, the Royal College of Anaesthetists said.

The average age of patients requiring anaesthesia increased by 2.3 years, from 50.5 to 52.8, over the last decade, while their BMI also jumped from 24.9 (borderline normal/overweight) to 26.7 (overweight).

The proportion of patients who are complex or have other comorbidities has also significantly increased, the study found.

When patients are older, overweight and have other problems, this makes anaesthetic and surgical care more complicated and higher risk, the authors said. Managing these patients safely takes longer during surgery and can lead to slower recovery times, requiring more time in hospital.

Read full story (paywalled)

Source: The Telegraph, 2 March 2023


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