‘Don’t fat-shame obese patients’ medics told

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NHS staff are having to tip-toe around the issue of weight after more than 100 formal complaints were lodged by obese patients. Most claimed to have been “fat-shamed” by doctors, nurses and paramedics.

One said a nurse refused to give them a bed bath as they were too fat, while another said their transport refused to collect them due to their weight.

There was even one bizarre case in which a health worker was told off, after they said they had not recognised somebody who had lost a lot of weight.

Obesity is the root cause of many serious health issues but the raft of complaints expose the problems medical staff will face when implementing the Government’s new anti-obesity strategy.

A Freedom of Information Act survey of NHS trusts revealed 126 complaints were lodged with managers in the last financial year over staff’s dealings with overweight patients.

The true number is likely to be much higher as many trusts said they could not disclose the details of the cases.

Among those in the dossier was a case in which a sonographer was given more training due to their actions.

They had told the obese patient at Barnsley Hospital to hold their belly up as it was “too heavy” for them to lift with one hand while operating machinery with the other.

And a patient at Walsall Healthcare Trust said they had been “humiliated” by a nurse who refused to wash them.

Another patient who was being treated by Norfolk and Norwich Trust was upset by a consultant who told her that what she thought were bladder infections were caused by her weight.

National Obesity Forum chairman Tam Fry said: “There will be times when patients refuse to hear what doctors say, take umbrage and fire off complaints.”

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