Sleeve Gastrectomy on the NHS

Surgery on the NHS will for many people be one of the most appealing options as the price will be covered, you will however be required to meet specific guidelines. Your case will be considered individually and will be considered by a number of associations. You will need to be referred by your GP to an NHS clinic who deals with this type of surgery. The guidelines you need to meet are set out by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) and are reflected across clinics across the UK.

How do I get considered for the surgery?

Usually this type of weight loss surgery is used for individuals who are seen as unfit for other weight loss surgeries, so anyone who has an extremely high BMI are usually offered a Sleeve Gastrectomy as a 2 part operation; meaning that this operation is performed and in around 12 months a second surgery will be performed when your weight is more acceptable for a procedure such as a gastric Bypass or a Duodenal Switch. Some patients however do achieve a decent amount of weight loss through this surgery alone, and it can also be used as a single part surgery. However for either type you will be required to meet specific guidelines this will ensure that you are successful and safe throughout the procedure. You will usually be considered if your BMI is above 50, you may also be considered with a lower BMI if you suffer from Chron’s disease or anaemia, as the procedure doesn’t interrupt with the intestines. You will need to demonstrate the determination to want to change, as following the procedure you will be required to follow strict dietary advice and exercise regimes, you must show that you are willing to follow this advice strictly. You will also be required to prove that weight loss surgery is your last choice, that in the past you have attempted weight loss through many different methods, and that these methods have not been successful for you.

I meet the requirements – what next?

If you feel that you meet the requirements for this procedure, and that it would be better for you than any others, you must first visit your GP, they will then assess your situation and will be able to refer you on to an NHS clinic within the UK which can assist your further. Once you are referred you will attend a consultation and the requirements will be discussed further, your case will be considered individually and every aspect of your health, attitude and previous weight loss attempts will be taken into account. Various associations will consider your case, and will vote on whether to accept you or not. You should not be worried if you meet all of the requirements set out above.

I have been accepted on the NHS, what happens now?

If your case has been considered by all required associations you will be informed, and you will be required to attend medical checkups to ensure your safety for this type of surgery. The NHS will offer you a team of specialists to assist with the procedure; you will have access to dietician, your surgeon, specialist nurses and a psychologist. Each member of the team will support you in different ways and will help you with the changes needed to create a successful outcome, both prior to and after surgery. You may however be required to wait a certain amount of time, this is due to how funding is shared out across the UK. It is usually shared every 12 months to various clinics across the UK that deal with this type of surgery, patients will be referred to a clinic within their region and the clinic will need to ensure that their funding is shared out across the year equally, which in turn will create a waiting list. You should speak to the clinic you are referred to as they will determine a more specific wait time for you.

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