If "prevention is better than a cure", when is a cure deemed appropriate? Hair transplants were previously thought to be the only "cure" for baldness, but preventative hair loss treatments are now preferred by most specialists and surgery is considered a last resort. Health campaigns conducted under that same mantra aim to prevent life-threatening conditions, but surgeons are beginning to deny the severely obese their last chance to overcome their weight problem.
Patients currently have a legal right, under the NHS Constitution, to be assessed for weight loss surgery if their Body Mass Index (BMI) is 40 or over, but some surgeons will only consider operating on patients with a BMI of 50 or more, sparking concern that people will eat more and put more weight on in order to get the stomach-reducing ops.
Surgeon Professor Mike Larvin said it's a cost-cutting scheme by the NHS.
"In many regions the criteria are being raised to save money," he said.
"Patients are being denied life-saving and cost-effective treatments and effectively encouraged to eat more in order to gain a more risky operation down the line."
Chair of the National Obesity Forum Dr David Haslam agrees.
"Even the most cynical taxpayer should support (weight loss) surgery, alongside clinicians, opposing the unethical and immoral barriers to surgery imposed by NHS purse-string holders."
It's estimated that around 240,000 people want the weight loss operation and some professionals say that the £10,000 operation, which results in patients losing 70% of their excess weight within 18 months of surgery, is cheap compared to the long-term bill for treating medical complications of obesity.
But like the many hair loss specialists that advise addressing the underlying cause and recommend alternate treatment before resorting to hair transplants, the Department of Health said surgery should only be used as a last resort once diet and lifestyle changes had failed, and many agree.
Sue comments on Sky News that it's not the NHS's responsibility to provide the obese with a quick fix.
"As an obese person myself," posts on their website, "I have to agree [that] losing weight is damned hard work, but it can be done. What does surgery do? It is a quick fix, and costly to an NHS that is cash strapped already. It teaches people nothing."
For more information about hair loss treatment and prevention, contact The Belgravia Centre on 020 7730 6666 or send a message.
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