About BOSPA

BOSPA (British Obesity Surgery Patients Association) was launched in December 2003 to provide support and information to the thousands of patients in the UK for whom obesity surgery can provide an enormous benefit.

BOSPA is a national patient charity (Reg No: 1110041); run by patients, for patients.

BOSPA aims to empower you:

  • Empower you with information about what obesity surgery involves. We want you to participate actively in the decision about whether obesity surgery, and which operation, is right for you. BOSPA information is based on published medical studies and not on individual ideas and experiences, so you can be confident it is independent, unbiased, honest and relevant to the UK.
  • Empower you with access to surgery services. We can help you find a surgeon (NHS or private) near where you live, or one skilled in a particular procedure. We work closely with obesity surgery teams, hospitals, health management organisations and political groups to improve patient access to obesity surgery services and to provide high quality care.
  • Empower you with education about how to achieve your desired result from surgery. Education starts by setting realistic goals for your weight loss and health improvement. Understand how to prepare yourself for surgery. Learn about nutrition and how to eat healthily after your surgery and how to increase your exercise and fitness levels as your BMI falls. And be informed about how to recognise complications and when to seek medical help.
  • Empower you with support along your journey. Getting together with others who are having the same treatment and providing mutual support are keys to success. It is the sharing of information about the little things that often makes a big difference. BOSPA co-ordinates a growing network of local support groups and we also provide telephone and email support to individuals who don’t have access to a local group.


BOSPA’s trustees are:


Janet Edmond (appointed 2005)

I was an original founder of BOSPA in 2003 when I was researching surgery for myself and found it difficult to obtain unbiased information relevant to the UK setting.  I have a varied background spanning nursing and midwifery and then 20 years in medical education and communications in the pharmaceutical industry. In the past several years I have become involved in obesity surgery professionally, managing patient services both within the NHS (for Taunton & Somerset Trust) and the private sector (SW Bariatric Surgery Group).  My own life has been transformed by this treatment and I strive for BOSPA to be an organisation that empowers people to get the best from it.  My future aims are to ensure that BOSPA continues to grow and is financially sustainable in the long term, and to lobby for greater access to obesity surgery which I believe should be provided through dedicated specialist centres.

Kathy Kirkland (appointed 2007)

I am 63, and have been married for 43 years with 3 grown up sons. Over many years I have suffered with weight problems, tried everything going, even to having my teeth wired in 1983/1984 but with the weight increasing I developed many health problems including insulin-dependent diabetes. In April 2005 I was referred for obesity surgery and my endocrinologist told me about BOSPA, and I joined the local group. In January 2007 I had a gastric bypass and am already off my diabetes medication and thrilled with my progress.  I have been a regular attendee of the BOSPA meetings for almost 2 years. I love to help and get involved anyway I can and I have become “raffle queen” of our local group, a good way of helping to raise much needed funds for the organisation.  l pay a great interest in members who have had or are contemplating having surgery, and I see my role as trustee as an opportunity to give back and support others in the same way BOSPA has supported me through my long journey.

Chrissie Palmer (appointed 2005) CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES

I was a co-founder of BOSPA in 2003. My professional background is varied starting with nursing (and yes its true we do make the worst patients!) and then District Nursing where I stayed for 15 years. Following that I moved into social work, working as a care manger for 7 years. I then moved to the Southwest and retrained as a Teacher in Further Education and more recently I have completed a diploma in counselling.  I believe BOSPA is a leader in its field and I am proud I am a member of a patient-led organisation which strives to reflect the needs of its members. As well as being a member I also now work for BOSPA as support groups liaison person, work which I thoroughly enjoy because it enables me to play a part in the sustainable growth of BOSPA while staying true to its philosophy of being an organisation run for patients, by patients with empowerment through knowledge being its benchmark.

Tanya Porter (appointed 2007) TREASURER
Having been overweight all my adult life, I followed with great interest the development of obesity surgery. I, like many others have yo-yo dieted for years, losing moderate amounts of weight, vowing to keep it off, only to find I easily regained the lost weight plus an extra bit a short while later. I opted for gastric band surgery in September 2006, a decision I thought long and hard over and one that has already improved the quality of my life. I have four children and work as a midwife in a local hospital and am beginning to enjoy an active social life.  I passionately believe that obesity surgery should be available for those who have failed to manage their weight through more traditional methods.  The current waiting lists and lack of funding available will continue to be a huge concern for BOSPA members and I would like to see other avenues of funding explored such as shared payment schemes.  The recent government decision to allow those under 18 years of age to have obesity surgery will also have an big impact on BOSPA and I would like to work as a BOSPA trustee to address their needs.

Keith Chinn (appointed 2009)

I came in search of surgery after years of yo-yo dieting and various fitness campaigns in an attempt to regain some of my youthful exuberance.  I first attended a BOSPA meeting early in 2006 in search of information.  I was in the NHS system and got frustrated at the delays and inactivity so I decided against a new car and paid for my gastric band July 2007 as I really had to do something.  September 2007 I was approached to help run the Taunton support group with Kathy Kirkland.  I can say that I have never looked back.  I am now almost 10 stone lighter than when, this journey in my life started.  My life has changed beyond my wildest dreams and my wife and three grown up children are delighted at the change in me.  Having taken on the challenge to help raise some much needed funds for BOSPA.  This year the Taunton group is doing the third annual sponsored bike/walk. I have now completed two novice triathlons all for the cause.  In 2009 I was asked if I would like to become a Trustee.  This to me is an honor and a privilege and a duty that I will not take lightly.  I will, as ever do my very best to support BOSPA and its members.

Gary Weston (appointed 2009)