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How to Get Weight Loss Surgery on NHS

Weight loss surgery, also known as bariatric surgery, is a medical procedure that can help individuals who are severely overweight or obese to achieve significant weight loss. This surgical intervention is often recommended for individuals who have tried other methods of weight loss without success and who have certain health conditions related to their weight. In the United Kingdom, eligible patients can obtain weight loss surgery through the National Health Service (NHS). In this article, we will provide accurate information on how to get weight loss surgery on the NHS.

How to Get Weight Loss Surgery on NHS

How to Get Weight Loss Surgery on NHS

Weight loss surgery, also called bariatric surgery, can really change your life if you're having a hard time with obesity. It can help improve overall health, reduce weight-related medical conditions, and enhance quality of life. If you are considering weight loss surgery and are eligible for NHS treatment, here is a step-by-step guide on how to get weight loss surgery on the NHS.

Step 1: Speak to Your GP

The first step in the process is to schedule an appointment with your GP. Discuss your weight loss goals and concerns with them, and they will assess your eligibility for weight loss surgery. Your GP will evaluate your BMI, weight-related health conditions, and previous attempts at weight loss. They will also consider other factors such as your mental health and lifestyle.

If your GP determines that you meet the criteria for weight loss surgery, they will refer you to a specialist bariatric team at a hospital for further assessment and consultation.

Step 2: Specialist Assessment

Once your GP refers you to a bariatric team, you will undergo a specialist assessment. This assessment will involve a comprehensive evaluation of your physical and mental health. The bariatric team will assess your suitability for weight loss surgery and determine the most appropriate procedure for you.

During the assessment, the team will discuss the potential risks and benefits of weight loss surgery, as well as any alternative options available. They will also provide you with information about the different types of weight loss surgery, such as gastric bypass, gastric sleeve, or gastric band.

It is essential to ask any questions you may have during this assessment to ensure you have a clear understanding of the procedure and its implications.

Step 3: Preparing for Surgery

Once you have been approved for weight loss surgery, you will need to prepare for the procedure. This may involve making certain lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking or losing a certain amount of weight before surgery. The bariatric team will provide you with specific instructions tailored to your individual needs.

You may also be required to attend pre-operative appointments, such as consultations with an anesthetist and a dietitian. These appointments are crucial in ensuring that you are physically and mentally prepared for the surgery.

Step 4: Surgery and Aftercare

After completing the necessary preparations, you will undergo weight loss surgery. The specific procedure will depend on the recommendation of the bariatric team and your individual circumstances.

Following the surgery, you will be closely monitored by the medical team to ensure your safety and well-being. You will receive post-operative care instructions, including dietary guidelines and recommendations for physical activity.

It is important to follow these instructions diligently to optimize your weight loss results and minimize the risk of complications. Regular follow-up appointments with the bariatric team will be scheduled to monitor your progress and provide ongoing support.

Eligibility for Weight Loss Surgery on the NHS

Before considering weight loss surgery in the NHS, it's important to understand the eligibility criteria set by the NHS. The criteria may vary slightly across different regions, but generally, the following factors are taken into consideration:

  • Body Mass Index (BMI): The NHS usually considers individuals with a BMI of 40 or above as eligible for weight loss surgery. In some cases, individuals with a BMI between 35 and 40 may also be considered if they have other obesity-related health conditions.

  • Previous Attempts at Weight Loss: The NHS may require individuals to have tried other weight loss methods, such as dieting and exercise, without significant success.

  • Health Conditions: Obesity-related health conditions, such as type 2 diabetes or high blood pressure, may increase the chances of being eligible for weight loss surgery on the NHS.

  • Commitment to Lifestyle Changes: The NHS expects individuals to demonstrate a commitment to making long-term lifestyle changes, including dietary modifications and regular exercise.

Types of Weight Loss Surgery Available on the NHS

The NHS offers different types of weight loss surgeries, depending on individual needs and medical assessment. The most common types of weight loss surgeries available on the NHS include:

  • Gastric Sleeve Surgery: This procedure involves removing a portion of the stomach, reducing its size and capacity. It helps in reducing the amount of food one can eat and promotes weight loss.

  • Gastric Bypass Surgery: In this procedure, a small pouch is created at the top of the stomach, which is then connected to the small intestine. This bypasses a significant portion of the stomach and intestine, reducing the absorption of calories.

  • Gastric Band Surgery: A silicone band is placed around the upper part of the stomach, creating a smaller pouch. This restricts the amount of food one can consume and promotes weight loss.

The Importance of Following a Gastric Sleeve Diet

After undergoing gastric sleeve surgery, following a specific diet is crucial for successful weight loss and overall health. The gastric sleeve diet typically consists of several stages, starting with a liquid-only diet immediately after the surgery and gradually progressing to solid foods over time.

The main goals of the gastric sleeve diet are:

  • Promote Healing: The initial stages of the diet focus on allowing the stomach to heal after surgery. Liquid and pureed foods are easier to digest and put less strain on the stomach.

  • Ensure Adequate Nutrition: While the quantity of food consumed decreases after surgery, it is essential to ensure that the body receives all the necessary nutrients. The diet includes foods rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals.

  • Support Weight Loss: The gastric sleeve diet helps in promoting weight loss by limiting portion sizes, controlling calorie intake, and encouraging healthier food choices.

  • Establish Healthy Eating Habits: Following the gastric sleeve diet helps individuals develop healthier eating habits, such as eating smaller meals, chewing food thoroughly, and avoiding high-calorie, processed foods.

It is important to consult with a healthcare professional or a registered dietitian to create an individualized gastric sleeve diet plan that meets your specific needs and ensures optimal recovery and weight loss.

The Referral Process

Once your GP has determined that you meet the eligibility criteria for weight loss surgery, they will refer you to a specialist weight management service. This service will assess your suitability for surgery and provide you with more information about the procedure and its potential risks and benefits.

During the assessment, you will undergo various tests and evaluations to determine your overall health and readiness for surgery. These may include blood tests, imaging scans, psychological evaluations, and consultations with specialists such as dieticians and surgeons.


Weight loss surgery on the NHS is available for eligible individuals who meet specific criteria. If you are severely overweight or obese and have not been successful with other weight loss methods, it may be worth discussing the possibility of weight loss surgery with your GP. Remember that weight loss surgery is not a quick fix, but rather a tool to help you achieve significant weight loss and improve your overall health. It is important to approach the surgery with a commitment to making long-term lifestyle changes and to follow the guidance of your healthcare team throughout the process.

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