£4.5m spent on ambulances to get fat people to hospital
A TOTAL of £4.5 million has been spent on equipment to cope with obese patients in Wales.
The Welsh Ambulance Service says it spent the money between 2010 and 2012 on equipment to deal with obese patients.
Part of this included £3.027 million on 42 modified ambulances during 2010/2011.
The service currently has 100 emergency ambulance vehicles in operation capable of carrying bariatric patients. Bariatics is the branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of obese people.
A Welsh Ambulance Service spokesperson said: "Like other ambulance services across the UK, we respond to a number of calls where a patient requires a bariatric-capable ambulance.
Hear the story of one of the world's fattest people:
"The first five bariatric patient care service vehicles were introduced into the service in 2010 and were purchased in order to carry the megasus stretcher.
"A further two bariatric patient care service vehicles were purchased in 2012.
"Since 2010, all new emergency ambulance vehicles were designed to accommodate the bariatric stretcher, and currently there are 100 emergency ambulance vehicles in operation capable of carrying bariatric patients. These vehicles are used to respond to and convey all types of emergency and non-emergency patients."
A recent report by Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board's director of public health, Doctor Sara Hayes, she said obesity was a problem in the region. She identified the three areas of stopping smoking, tackling obesity and increasing vaccination rates as the key priorities which need to be addressed to help improve the health of people in the area.
Dr Hayes said the board planned to continue to promote physical activity and a healthy diet.