Can I have post-weight loss surgery on the NHS?

post weight lossFor the patients presenting at Mr Sudip Ghosh’s Milton Keynes post-weight loss surgery clinic, their new physical state can be just as dispiriting and inhibiting as that before the weight was shed.

Carrying folds of excess skin can result in hygiene issues, infections, reduced mobility and depression. In these cases, surgery such as total body lift can be transformative – but how easy is it to access?

Is it available on the NHS?

There are NICE-accredited national commissioning guidelines specific to the funding of the removal of overhanging, excess skin but a report authored by consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS member Mark Soldin reveals that it is being ignored by over 92% of CCGs nationwide.

In light of his findings, Mr Soldin argues that post-weight loss surgery would complete the weight loss treatment and take patients out of a ‘gruesome transitional state . . . The removal of these folds cannot be classified as simply aesthetic – it is life changing and in some cases life saving.’

There are many patients treated at Mr Ghosh’s Milton Keynes clinic who would agree with that.

Is there a financial argument for post-weight loss surgery?

The view of many leading plastic surgeons is that it makes economic sense to support these patients: as BAAPS President Michael Cadier explains, ‘by eliminating their functional problems, increasing their self-esteem and removing the cost of treating co-morbidities, it can in fact be an active contributor to the growth of the economy . . .

This is not about making people ‘beautiful’ but restoring normality and function, so they can lead healthy and productive lives’.

In making the case that not offering body contouring to post-bariatric patients is a short-sighted approach, BAAPS has calculated that the economic burden of NOT treating them correctly is more than £53 million per annum.

The hope is that more CCGs will be persuaded by the economic arguments but in the meantime patients requiring a total body lift must continue to save up.

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