I was fortunate to qualify for fully funded gastric band surgery on the NHS, partly due to meeting all the points laid down by the NHS and partly down to being a resident in the Birmingham PCT which is more likely to grant funding than a lot of other PCT's. It does come across as a sort of postcode lottery so even if you meet the criteria you may lose out on NHS treatment because your PCT is less willing to fund Gastric Band Surgery. As far as I'm concerned its a little short sighted of the PCT's as for a one off cost to the NHS I have saved them money in the long term. I no longer require expensive long term medication for arthritis and pain relief, I am less likely to develop diabetes or have a stroke which again would incur a long term drain on NHS finances and I am less likely to require a hip or knee op. I strongly believe they should have a radical rethink on funding these operations before more expensive treatment is required in the future.
So just what exactly are the criteria you have to meet to be considered for NHS Gastric Band Surgery?
There are only four statements that must apply to you to qualify for NHS funding.
Funding for gastric banding varies across the country depending on your local PCT. PCTs can only set aside a certain amount of money for this type of surgery. If you are considered suitable for surgery, as a treatment for obesity, you'll be considered on an individual basis. Gastric banding usually costs around £7,000 if done privately. (price approximate at time of writing 2008)
If you feel you qualify for gastric banding on the NHS - you will need to discuss all possible options with your GP. Remember if your BMI is 50+ your GP can directly refer you to Mr Super at Heartlands Hospital for a consultation.