Weight Loss Surgery (Obesity Surgery) on the NHS

It is possible to have weight loss surgery (obesity surgery) on the NHS but this will depend on many factors such as your weight, where you live, past attempts at weight loss, etc.  It is much more likely that you be able to access funding for weight loss surgery on the NHS if you are morbidly obese and facing life threatening health conditions.  It is worth exploring this avenue if you are suffering from life threatening health conditions due to your excessive weight.  You will need to contact your PCT (Primary Care Trust) and hospital (NHS Trust) to investigate funding.  Each individual PCT and NHS Trust will allocate different amounts of funding to each procedure.  There will also be regional differences depending on where you live.  There are always competing demands for this funding, which means applying for funding for weight loss surgery is somewhat of a lottery with winners and losers.  

Primary Care Trusts (PCT’s) & Weight Loss Surgery

Firstly you will need to find out the situation at your local PCT and NHS Trust and find out if there is funding allocated.  In some cases, no funding will be allocated and you could consider approaching another PCT and NHS Trust in a different area.  Weight loss surgery is not a top priority for many PCT’s and therefore does not always attract funding.  Often if there is funding available it can be limited as there is usually as set amount given each financial year. 

NHS Weight Loss Surgery Surgeons

When having weight loss surgery funded by the NHS you will not usually have the choice of surgeon.  If you have weight loss surgery by private treatment then you will have choice of surgeon and the type of hospital. 

NHS Weight Loss Surgery Waiting Lists

NHS weight loss surgery is also usually subject to a waiting list unfortunately.  This again will depend on your PCT and NHS Trust but the waiting list could be as much as eighteen months. 

Applying for NHS funding for Weight Loss Surgery

Here are a few tips if you decide to apply for NHS funding for weight loss surgery:

  • Understand the surgical procedures beforehand by researching the options and gaining information.
  • Be aware of the eligibility guidelines  - the National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) is a good source of information.
  • Contact your PCT and request information about funding.  Take time to study the guidelines.
  • Discuss with your GP which procedures would be suitable for you and outline clearly your reasons for weight loss surgery. 
  • Be aware of the appeal system in place in case your application is unsuccessful.

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