Although gastrointestinal bypass operations are available on the NHS, you will need to meet strict criteria before being offered treatment. The rules may differ slightly from to hospital hospital, but in general you will only be able to receive obesity surgery on the NHS if:
- you have a BMI of 40 or more, or a BMI of between 35-40 combined with a serious health condition that could be improved if you lose weight.
- you are in sufficient health to be able to cope with the anaesthetic and the surgery itself.
- you have tried all non-surgical methods to lose weight, such as diet and exercise.
- you understand the commitment needed for long term follow-up treatment after surgery.
- you fully understand the risks of undergoing such procedures.
If exceptional cases, you may still be offered a gastric bypass on the NHS even if you don't meet one or more of these criteria. This will be a decision for your doctors and surgeons to make based on the facts of your case.
In theory, all NHS hospitals should offer gastrointestinal bypass operations but the reality of the situation is somewhat different. Not every local hospital in the UK provides funding for obesity surgery, and those that do may offer a very limited program. NHS hospitals are under severe pressure to save money. Cuts to services are inevitable, and unfortunately obesity treatment is one of the areas often affected.
If you are lucky enough to be receive funding for a gastric bypass at your local NHS hospital, be prepared for a lengthy wait. The actual application for funding can take several weeks, and the wait for an available surgery slot can take several more.
However, the quality of gastric band surgery on the NHS is very good. Surgeons and medical staff have the skills and experience to provide first rate care and treatment. So if you are one of the lucky few to receive a gastrointestinal bypass on the NHS, you are certainly in safe hands.
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?