FAT’S GOING TOO FAR Hundreds of overweight Brits claim they’ve been fat-shamed by NHS staff
THE NHS is being weighed down by hundreds of complaints from obese patients claiming they have been “fat-shamed.” Sick Brits have been left fuming after hospital staff has called them “cuddly”, “stumpy” or “massively overweight”.
But campaigners said obese adults need to “face the truth” over their weight and its impact on their health. One patient launched a grievance against Barking, Havering and Redbridge trust after being told she was too big to use a portable loo.
Another complained after medics at Guy’s and St Thomas’ in London said they were twice the weight of the doctor in front of a relative. One woman moaned after she was told to tackle her son’s weight problem – or staff would report her to social services. While another mum was offended after workers at Worcestershire Health and Care said her son was too big for the dentist’s chair.
A consultant at Portsmouth Hospital was ticked off after telling a patient “people your size have become an epidemic” and their headaches were likely due to their weight.
‘FACE THE TRUTH’
And another case saw a woman who had issues walking told she was “fat” and had abused her own body.
The doctor from Great Western Hospitals in Wilts went on to scan her leg and said: “It’s just fat, fat, fat. If you speak to a butcher, he will tell you there are five different types of fat, this is one of them.” The patient later received an apology.
Tam Fry, a spokesman for the National Obesity Forum, said: “It is unforgivable that any health professional should use this kind of language at any time, but absolutely necessary that some patients be left in no doubt that by being so fat they could lose a leg, go blind or die.
“That requires plain language and if they can’t face the truth, so be it. If professionals duck speaking plainly, they are not caring: it may be tough to do, but it’s essential.”
The cases were uncovered using Freedom of Information laws – with three in four trusts responding. In total, the NHS has received 332 complaints from people claiming to have been fat-shamed by hospital staff in the last three years.
Two in three UK adults are overweight or obese.
Being too heavy increases the chances of type 2 diabetes, heart, liver disease and several common cancers. Other cases of fat-shaming that ended in complaints include a nurse at Worcestershire Acute Hospitals telling an overweight relative “you shouldn’t be having that” after they bought a hot chocolate. And a consultant at Maidstone and Tunbridge Wells trust had to apologise to a patient after saying “The only surgery I would book for you is bariatric [weight-loss] surgery or you’ll end up housebound and lifted out the window in the end”.
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