Public Bariatric Speciality Clinic in Ontario

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail wrote an extensive article on Dr. Sean Wharton, an internist, who runs a clinic that delivers a full range of bariatric medical care within the Ontario public health care system.

I was particularly pleased to see this portrayal of Dr. Wharton’s clinic, as I had the pleasure of training him during my time in Hamilton. Joining me as a young doctor, just on the verge of completing his training in internal medicine, he quickly gained an appreciation of and a remarkable competency in bariatric medicine. He recognized that patients challenged with excess weight are as deserving as patients with any other medical condition, with the difference that they have nowhere to go.

Dr Wharton is also a graduate of the 2006 Canadian Obesity Network Obesity Boot Camp.

On May 1 of this year, he started the Wharton Medical Centre in Hamilton, dedicated to providing Government-funded speciality bariatric care.

The Clinic has recently expanded to over 5000 square feet and now approximately 1500 active patients.

The Clinic Staff includes 3 Internists, 2 nephrologists, and 2 family physicians, as well as bariatric technicians, cardiovascular technicians, clinic research staff, a dietitian, behavioural therapists, kinesiologist, and administrators.

The clinic provides a full range of bariatric care in individual and group settings at no charge to the patient. Up to 5-10 classes per week address topics such as emotional eating, body image, pre- and post-bariatric surgery support, meal planning, label reading, exercise classes and more.

While the G&M article focuses on the progress of a couple of extremely large patients, the clinic is open to anyone who needs to manage their weight for health reasons.

Although Dr. Wharton’s model may be unique, it certainly proves that at least interested specialists can provide comprehensive bariatric care within the public health care system in Ontario.

Edmonton, Alberta