Metabolic surgery soon available to Irish type 2 diabetes patients

Patients whose diabetes is caused by obesity will be able to avail of the procedure, which HIQA has recommended for rollout in Ireland

Metabolic surgery will soon be available to patients suffering from type 2 diabetes due to obesity, following a recommendation from HIQA.

Metabolic surgery is the use of bariatric surgery procedures with the aim of improving type 2 diabetes control in patients with comorbid (both) type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Earlier this month, HIQA published a report which concluded that surgery is not only safe but may be the ‘most effective treatment for many patients with type 2 diabetes caused by obesity’, based on a review of research from around the world.

Over 230,000 people in Ireland currently have type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes Ireland. Meanwhile, 60 per cent of adults and over one-in-five children is overweight or obese.

Surgery means that patients may benefit both from improvements in blood sugar and bodyweight, with most patients having their diabetes go into remission. Diabetes surgery also results in reduced risk of type 2 diabetes-related complications such as diabetic kidney disease and heart attacks.

The availability of surgery means that patients many also need to use the health service less. It is estimated that now 50,000 patients in Ireland could be eligible, but perhaps only 5,000 may be interested in the surgery, especially if this can put their diabetes into remission.

HIQA estimates that the new programme will cost €7.6 million over five years and be able to treat 200 patients per year.

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