A Northampton woman has called on the Government to make cosmetic surgery easily available to major weight losers on the NHS, after she was denied a ‘life-changing’ operation.
Louise Hirst, of Southfields, lost 17 stone in two years when she realised her weight had gotten out of control.
But this week – after the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) recommended the NHS paid for overweight people to go to slimming classes – she said the health service was not looking after those people who did manage to lose large amounts.
Having gone from 32 stone to 15 stone since 2012, she has been left with a large fold of skin around her stomach.
But after being refused the operation by the NHS, she has been told it will cost her £8,000 to get it done privately.
She said: “It’s all very well the NHS paying for people to go to Weight Watchers, but what about the care afterwards? It’s a good thing to do with people, but at the end of the day the operation costs £8,000. You are going to have to put up with the embarrassment of lumps and bumps.”
Mrs Kirk said the fold of skin is affecting her mobility.
“It affects my daily life,” she said.”You have to be careful what you wear all the time. I don’t understand why it is just considered a ‘cosmetic treatment’.
An apronectomy, to ‘tuck’ back the hanging skin, is rarely available on the NHS unless “overriding physical or psychological” reasons make it necessary.
Mrs Kirk said she will keep applying for the surgery through her GP.