How to get the gastric sleeve on NHS – and what are the alternatives

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When it comes to weight loss surgeries, the gastric sleeve success rate is the highest, 80-90%, with people losing 60-70% of their excess weight within the first year post-op.

This and the fact that in the UK’s private clinics, bariatric surgery prices are one of Europe’s highest, make gastric sleeve on NHS a much sought-after option.

„Do I qualify?!“

To be listed for gastric sleeve on NHS, there is a certain base frame you must fit into (pun intended). That is, have a BMI (body mass index) of 40 or above OR BMI 35+ and any serious obesity-induced illness (heart condition, Type 2 diabetes, etc). You must also be able to prove that you have tried other certified means of weight loss, but have been unsuccessful. You need to agree to a long-term follow-up after surgery and of course, be fit enough for both anaesthetic and the surgery itself.

In case your BMI is 50 or over, surgery may be considered without needing to try other weight loss methods first.

Cost of a gastric sleeve surgery

While gastric sleeve on NHS does not tap into the patient’s wallet, it costs the NHS a pretty penny (the exact amount unclear, but pricier than gastric bypass, which is listed for £6000 and above). NHS annual cost of bariatric surgeries exceeds £45 billion and while the British government is constantly increasing the budget for bariatric surgery, it is nowhere near to lift it up the funding priorities ladder.

Meanwhile, gastric sleeve surgery prices in the UK’s private clinics are unaffordable to many (not to say most) people in dire need of it – depending on location and other variables, anything between £8000 to £13 000.

The alternative? Bariatric tourism

Turkey is starting to get „out of fashion“, with more and more people choosing to have their gastric sleeve in Europe. Gastric sleeve in Latvia is also on a steady rise, and the reason for both is the same – more affordable, quality service with much shorter waiting time, and fewer qualification conditions.

Add to this but a short, comfortable flight and it makes no one wonder, why bariatric tourism is leading more and more people to discover the eastern part of Europe, namely the Czech Republic, Poland, Latvia, and Lithuania.

Latvia, starring the Weight Loss Riga clinic, is definitely winning more and more glory for their personal-but-professional service, very high success rates, and all-inclusive surgery packages. Just to compare the prices –

  • Gastric sleeve in the UK – £8000-13 000
  • In Turkey – £3000-3500
  • In Belgium – £5000-6000
  • In Poland – £3600

All of the previously mentioned prices have been non-inclusive, while Weight Loss Riga stands out with a gastric sleeve surgery package of:

£4980

 In conclusion, while gastric sleeve on NHS is definitely a possibility, especially with NICE vouching for more bariatric surgeries for Type 2 diabetes patients, it is also a long and hesitant wait. To those who cannot afford to wait but may be able to afford some self-funding, the all-inclusive bariatric surgery packages are game – and life! – changers.

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