MUSGROVE Park Hospital, in Taunton, has won a national award for an app that helps track obesity patients' progress on weight loss programmes.

The accolade for best practice across the UK was presented by the Association for the Study of Obesity at its annual congress on obesity.

The app was developed with University College London students for patients receiving weight management treatment at the hospital and will be available for patients to use next year.

Musgrove has the largest weight management service in the South West, with around 30 referrals a month from GPs from across the South West.

It is one of only two European facilities to achieve ‘centre of excellence’ status in metabolic and bariatric surgery.

Once a GP has referred a patient for weight management treatment, they will be invited to download the app on their mobile to answer a series of medical and dietary questions which in turn will help direct their care to the right health professional in the right order for their individual needs.

The app will also provide a link between patients and clinicians to track their progress and manage their care remotely. Patients will be able to contact their clinician, track their weight and input other clinical information such as their blood sugar levels.

Dr Rhodri King, consultant in diabetes endocrinology, said: "Once the app is in use, we hope to reduce the waiting time between a referral from a patient’s GP to starting treatment with our service, especially as this is the time where patients are most motivated.

"This app means that patients will see the most appropriate healthcare clinician from the outset and enable the service to develop so that patients with urgent and more specialist needs can be seen quickly and in dedicated clinics.

"This will allow us to grow our expertise and continue to deliver best patient care.”

Dr King added that the first step for obese patients is to visit their GP to discuss their weight and offer appropriate support.