Thursday, 6 February 2014

Hospitals increasing expenditure on "heavy duty" equipment

In order to accommodate the obesity epidemic, medical providers are investing in a range of new equipment designed specifically for obese patients. The equipment ranges from so called "fat trucks" which carry different equipment for extrication and have hydraulic loading mechanisms and a tail gate hoist, to hospital rooms built with reinforced ceilings and a track to hoist patients.

The new equipment comes with a significantly higher cost than the standard equipment sold, with the specially designed rooms costing $250,000 each, and the new ambulances costing roughly double the price of the existing ones at $280,000
The purchases are in response to the 'over-representation' of  overweight and obese patients in hospitals across the country. Surgeon and director of CORE Associate Professor Wendy Brown said obese patients, with a BMI over 30, account for 35 per cent of hospital admissions, despite being just 27 percent of adults.
Due to the links between obesity and lower socioeconomic status, these patients are largely presenting to public hospitals, resulting in greater burdens to state governments. The revenue from laparoscopic sleeve gastrectomy in private hospitals is also decreasing, with the number of procedures decreasing from 14,000 to 11,000 following the global financial crisis.
With rates of obesity continuing to rise, these purchases may be essential to the provision of healthcare in the near future.

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