Background: Shared medical appointments (SMAs) are group clinics where practitioners see several patients, with common health needs, at once. There is a great financial strain on the National Health Service (NHS) to provide bariatric surgery. The aim of this study was to review patient satisfaction with the SMA that is the default means of following up patients after bariatric surgery at one particular NHS trust.
Methods: A patient-validated questionnaire was designed and handed out at the end of the SMAs. Patients who attended an SMA earlier in 2011 were also retrospectively sent questionnaires via post.
Results: A total of 47 patients completed the questionnaire from seven different SMAs covering the period from January to July 2011. All patients underwent laparoscopic adjustable gastric banding. After attending an SMA, patients gave an overall mean satisfaction rating of 4.13 ± 0.163 (on a scale of 1 to 5, 1 = very poor and 5 = excellent) which represented an increase (p < 0.01) compared to preconceptions before the clinic (3.59 ± 0.175). A cost analysis estimated a yearly saving of £4,617 or 65.1% made by the SMAs compared to 1:1 appointments.
Conclusions: The bariatric surgery SMA demonstrates high levels of patient satisfaction and is cost-effective.