„Where can I find the cheapest weight loss surgery in the UK,“ people ask their GPs and despair at Google. „What do I need to do?“
While there are no easy answers here, let us introduce at least some of the main problems, their causes, and possible directions to find solutions.
The cheapest is free
If you qualify, you can have the surgery on NHS. The preliminary requirements before you are put into the process of becoming enlisted are:
- BMI over 40 (or BMI 35 and over, if suffering from a serious, obesity-related health condition), determined by your GP.
- Meeting and assessment with a specialist bariatric clinic, assessed by a specialist nurse, dietitian, psychology professional, and surgeon.
- Complete 6 months of assessment, stabilization, and preparation within the service.
- 2nd assessment after which the bariatric team decides whether you can be added to the surgery waiting list.
Time on the list – unknown, 18+ months.
Three main problems of bariatric surgery on NHS
- Very few people qualify, due to the super strict requirements throughout the assessment months.
- Long waiting lines. The number of patients in dire need of bariatric surgery harshly outweighs the (mainly financial) capacity of the NHS.
- Lack of funds. Just a few numbers – the cost for weight loss surgery (for NHS) is £6000+ for gastric bypass and £2600+ for gastric band (however the latter is more costly due to must-have aftercare – band adjustments and such).
Also, as NHS needs to set priorities, it is unfortunately natural that cancer treatment etc stands way higher on the list than any bariatric surgery. To shift this even a little would mean massive extra funds, monthly and annually.
Weight loss surgery costs
Whether you have dropped out of NHS assessments or simply cannot afford to wait so long, the second option within the country is the private clinics, however, prices there are unaffordable for many –
Gastric sleeve £10 000 – 12 000, gastric band £6500 (med.), gastric bypass £9500 – 15 000.
Even in comparison to the cheapest weight loss surgery in the UK, weight loss surgery abroad has several options with just as high quality and much smaller prices. And while bariatric tourism towards Turkey (and perchance also Mexico) is still a hot topic, we invite you to look towards Europe.
Alternatives are abroad: weight loss surgery in Europe
So, why Europe?
- It is much closer, which makes the traveling much shorter, less complicated, and of course, cheaper.
- European medicinal standards throughout the countries, assuring you reliable quality and safety.
While not every European country offers affordable prices, the key countries, hubs for European bariatric tourism, provide their weight loss surgeries at more than half of the price of any cheapest weight loss surgery in the UK.
Compared to the previous UK private clinic prices, let us draw just one example – weight loss surgery in Riga, the Weight Loss Riga hospital, costs:
- Gastric sleeve £4980
- Gastric bypass £4323
NB! Both are all-inclusive packages – the price includes all preliminary tests and consultations, transportation from the airport, hotel stay for you and your companion (WLR insists you do not travel alone), bariatric surgery, any aftercare, immediate and long-term.
In conclusion – the cheapest weight loss surgery that matches quality with price lies in Eastern Europe – Poland, the Czech Republic, and at the very top, Latvia. In the UK, unfortunately, there are no cheaper alternatives between the dream of surgery on NHS and the high quality but also very high-priced private bariatric clinics. However, in our days, medical tourism is ever gaining popularity, making the routes both easier and more affordable. When it comes to something as important as your health, it is good to have and be aware of the options you have!