Gastric Band in the UK
With obesity becoming an epidemic in the United Kingdom, gastric band and other weight loss surgeries are becoming increasingly common. For people with a body mass index of over 40, or over 35 with obesity related health problems, it is possible to have the operation on the NHS. It is also an increasingly popular option to go private.
Gastric banding is only available on the NHS if the patient meets certain criteria. These include:
- The patient needs to be at least 18 years old
- A gastric band can not be the first action to lose weight. The patient must prove that they have tried and been unsuccessful in other methods of weight loss such as exercise and dieting.
- Gastric Band surgery is only available to people whose obesity is affecting their health.
- The patient must have a BMI of between 35 and 40 and a serious health condition such as type 2 diabetes or a BMI of over 40 to qualify for surgery.
- The patient must meet the medical and psychological terms of the procedure. If it is too risky to carry out surgery you can be denied.
- The patient must understand that once the gastric band is fitted, they will have a long term commitment to enable them to lose weight. This includes exercising and minimising food intake.
If a patient is recommended for treatment on the NHS they will then be placed on a waiting list. Each area is only allocated a certain amount of money for weight loss surgeries each year and with each operation being on a case by case basis there is no saying how long a patient may be on the waiting list.
There are many companies in the UK that offer gastric band surgery privately although some are better than others. It is recommended that the patient checks out thoroughly both the company and the surgeon before going under the knife. The cost of private treatment in the UK varies from between £4,000 to £8,000 although the huge advantage to private treatment is that there are no waiting lists. People who can afford private health care may also choose this option over the NHS due to the after care and the overall service offered by private clinics. With many NHS doctors working for private companies part time it is also possible that the surgeon doing the procedure on the NHS is the same one doing it privately.
There are two main ways in which to have gastric band surgery in the United Kingdom. It just depends on the individual patient and which option suits their needs best. Money is a huge deciding factor here although the length of time a patient is likely to be on an NHS waiting list is also important, as if they already have obesity related health problems, these will only increasingly worsen over time.