Health boards have been forced to install oversized mortuary fridges to cope with Scotland’s obesity crisis, it has emerged.
Research by the Scottish Conservatives has revealed there have been 41 installations across the country of fridges with additional capacity to cope with larger corpses.
It’s the latest indication of increased costs to the NHS thanks to rising levels of obesity.
The Freedom of Information responses show NHS Grampian has installed 25 spaces for “semi-obese” people and a further three marked as “obese” at its facility at the Foresterhill Health Campus.
The organisation said this was “required to meet demand”.
NHS Lanarkshire said it had created six new spaces for larger patients since 2013, while NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde put in three.
In the Lothians, the health board said two obese fridges were installed last year, while work was currently underway on the refrigerated body store at the Edinburgh Royal Infirmary “which will increase capacity for bariatric deceased patients”.
NHS Dumfries and Galloway confirmed it has also introduced two over-sized fridges.
Scottish Conservative shadow health secretary Miles Briggs said:
“Obesity is fast-becoming Scotland’s number one health crisis.
“This is a problem across all age groups and all sections of society.
“It means people’s lives are being needlessly cut short and the cost to the NHS is rising.
“This research shows the situation is even forcing health boards to invest in bigger mortuary fridges to cater for those obese patients who have passed away.
“Far more work is needed across the board to help get Scotland’s population fitter and healthier.”
Notes to editors:
Below are the numbers of oversized mortuary fridges which have been installed in Scotland in the past five years:
Ayrshire and Arran – 0
Borders – 0
Dumfries and Galloway - 2
Fife – 0
Forth Valley – 0
Highland – 0
Greater Glasgow and Clyde – 3
Grampian – 28
Lanarkshire – 6
Lothian – 2
Orkney – 0
Shetland – 0
Tayside – 0
Western Isles – 0
Scotland total – 41