To have gastric banding on the NHS you must meet specific criteria as set out by your local Primary Care Trust (PCT). These can vary a little from region to region but, in general, you will only be considered for a laparoscopic adjustable band on the NHS if:
- you are aged 18 or over.
- you have tried all other conventional methods of weight loss.
- you have no medical or psychological reasons for not carrying out the procedure.
- you fully understand the long-term commitment to having a stomach band fitted.
In exceptional circumstances, gastric banding may still be offered to people outside of these categories. However, you will need to convince your doctors and surgeons, that a banding operation is the best form of treatment for your condition.
Although lap bands should be available in all local NHS hospitals, the actual situation on the ground is far different. Not all PCTs provide funding for gastric banding operations. As hospital budgets tighten, cuts need to be made, and unfortunately obesity surgery is one of the areas that often suffers. Check with your local hospital to find out the latest details on their funding policy.
Even if you are lucky enough to live in an area that does offer stomach banding on the NHS, you may still be faced with a long wait before any operation takes place. Applying for funding can take several months, and waiting for a surgery slot can take many more.
The alternative to NHS treatment is to have stomach banding at a private clinic either in the UK or abroad. Lap band prices in the UK typically range fro £7,000 to £10,000. The cost of surgery aboard is considerably cheaper with savings of up to 40% possible.
Common Bariatrics Questions
What are the side effects of a gastrointestinal bypass operation?
How much pain will I experience during or after a stomach banding procedure?