Gastric Bands on the NHS

The has been a great deal of debate recently on the radio regarding the irregular allocation of gastric band operations across the NHS. (see here). Some areas, I imagine English health authorities, are finding it increasingly difficult to provide these operations. As any fellow cynic would suspect, the desperate measures invoked to avoid providing these operations is more due to unfair financial allocation than medical need.

I know a lot of people who read this blog feel that people who get themselves in trouble should really fix it themselves. I would therfore suspect that there may not be a great deal of sympathy for those who are massively overweight.

But think on this.

Some of these massively overweight people cost the NHS, other social services and you a fortune. They live in misery due to their condition. They need our support, but arguably not our National Insurance contributions.

Here is an idea that stands as much chance as a snowball in hell of getting actioned. You will see why in a minute.

Lets say anyone who needs one of these operations is instantly put on the list to have it done.

So, How do we pay for it. Rather, why should we pay for it?

We lend money to students, businesses, asylum seekers and dodgy foreign governments so why not lend money to the overweight so they can rectify the problem they have got themselves into. Interest free. Long payback terms.

For the massively overweight there are other questions. How much is your health worth? Why should other people pay to rectify your self imposed problems. Solving a lifestyle problem comes down to self respect. If you have a problem, you should primarily bale yourself out. That means paying for the operation.

At this point , this is where we should step in, and offer a soft loan.

Lets face it how much money has the average gastric band patient spent at Weight Watchers or on special diets? I would bet it comes down to significantly more than the cost of a gastric band operation.

Of course the concept of people paying for operations that will massively improve their lives is totally and utterly taboo. So what do we offer in exchange?


If you are lucky and you live in Scotland you will get on a list. Otherwise be prepared to die early.

What am I suggesting? Simply this. We give people who need these operations a loan which they can repay later. This loan is used to pay for the operation. Their lives are improved without damaging the ability of the NHS to address its usual health issues.

It is dishonest to pretend that the NHS can cope with every situation. It is also morally wrong for the NHS to curtail (example) cancer treatments to fund self abuse victims.

It is further, also morally wrong to discourage those same self abuse victims from solving their own problems because of political dogma.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

No wonder you lot died out. You're far too humane. Actually, as someone who has had quite a lot of experience of major surgery via the NHS I have often pondered upon the subject of so called lifestyle operations.

In my opinion weight gain has more to do with psychology than anything else and what people need is treatment for a condition which has yet to be given a name, although this condition has parallels with 2 eating disorders which do have names and these are anorexia nervosa and bulimia. Such conditions are allocated proper funding and the treatments work without subjecting victims to invasive surgery.

In the meantime, anyone tempted to hand over their cash to the multi-billion pound diet industry, should check out Susie Orchbach's 'Fat is a Feminist Issue' which is available for no money at all at your local lending library, which is under threat because not enough people are using it. Also brilliant is Naomi Woolfe's 'The Beauty Myth'. Also free from your LLL. Trust me - disembowelment is not the answer.(even if homo sapiens say it is).