NHS Gastric Band Waiting List

With obesity on the increase, many people are now opting to have weight loss surgery. The most popular type of weight loss surgery in the United Kingdom is the laparoscopic adjustable gastric band. This surgery is available on the National Health Service although there are criteria that a patient must meet before being accepted and the time on the waiting list varies.    


To be eligible for weight loss surgery on the NHS patient’s will first need to book an appointment to see their doctor as it is he who will refer them for a consultation. The following criteria needs to be met in order to be placed on a waiting list:

  • The patient must 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 who’s 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 the patient 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 their food intake.

The Consultation

If the patient meets all of the criteria listed above, and their doctor believes it is in their best interests to have gastric band surgery he will then refer them for a consultation at their local hospital. At the consultation tests will be taken to check for certain that a patient is ready for surgery and that they are in a healthy enough condition to minimise the risks the surgery carries. If the patient passes the consultation they will then be placed on the waiting list for surgery.

The Waiting List

Funding for weight loss surgery varies county to county and only a certain amount of money is set aside each year. The amount of people currently on the waiting list and the amount of money available for treatment determines how long a patient will be on the waiting list for gastric band surgery. Once you are recommended for surgery, treatment is decided on a case by case basis, so if someone who is in desperate need for the procedure joins the list they may go straight to the top. The amount of time a patient is on the NHS waiting list can vary from anywhere between 3 months to 4 years, and during this time many patients have decided to opt for private surgery due to the long wait times. The gastric band operation usually costs around £7000 if done privately and in the United Kingdom.

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