A DENTAL surgery has been reportedly accused of fat-shaming after banning obese patients over fears their chairs would not cope with their weight.
Patients of Hove Family Dental in New Church Road were allegedly told they would no longer treat anyone over 127kg or roughly 20 stone as they could “exceed equipment capabilities”.
According to newspaper reports, staff have been forced to step in to help overweight patients in and out of the dentist’s chair, with some said to have been broken under the weight of some of their heavier patients.
An email seen by the Daily Mail said that while staff “appreciate and understand that this is a sensitive issue”, the practice has a legal obligation under health and safety legislation to “operate in a safe environment and not exceed equipment facilities”.
Tracey Stephens, the practice’s manager, told the Mail that the surgery had to act after an increase in the number of obese patients.
“We don’t want to discriminate against anybody and we know it is really difficult and sensitive,” she said.
“We are seeing more and more overweight patients and we’ve had the chair break twice. They can be up to £20,000, they are really quite expensive bits of equipment.”
However, one furious customer told the Mail that the move “body shames” people who cannot keep their weight down.
The patient said: “I’m shocked, I couldn’t believe the email when I got it. It is an absolute disgrace.
“I would expect better from those providing care at a price.”
The news comes as Brighton and Hove City Council debate plans to ban fast food advertising on bus shelters and council-owned buildings in an effort to clamp down on obesity.
An audit in April this year found up to eight per cent of advertising on bus shelters was for major fast food brands.
A health survey for England in 2019 estimated that 28 per cent of adults in England are obese, with a further 36.2 per cent classed as overweight.
Almost half of adults in Brighton and Hove (49.3 per cent) were estimated to be overweight or obese in the study – among the lowest percentage in England.