NHS bosses refuse super slimmer - who lost 14st after rejecting costly gastric band - operation to remove folds of skin

Chris Degnan with trousers he used to wear before losing 14st. EMN-161010-101456001
Chris Degnan with trousers he used to wear before losing 14st. EMN-161010-101456001

A super slimmer who shed 14st after rejecting gastric band surgery to do it the hard way, says he is being let down by the NHS.

Chris Degnan, 32, of Furlong Way, Holdingham, won a Sleaford Town Award this year for overcoming adversity after he worked with a personal trainer at Sleaford Leisure Centre and took up running to shrink from his peak weight of 27st 9lb.

He and wife Emma have since taken part in a number of charity mud runs and Sleaford Half Marathon.

The dramatic weight loss left him with folds of excess skin about which he approached his GP for a referral for surgery to get it removed. But the former snack bar owner-turned window cleaner was shocked to learn that despite his punishing daily routine of healthy eating and morning work outs he still did not fit all the criteria for funding of the op. He told The Standard: “I have been told by my GP and South West Clinical Commissioning Group, which funds NHS operations, I can’t get skin removal on the NHS because of one factor - my Body Mass Index is not under 25, even when I explained I had gone from 59 to 28 with no help or bariatric surgery.”

Chris said: “I wrote to our MP Stephen Phillips who spoke to the CCG and they wrote back to me saying there was only that one box I didn’t tick. I told them without the weight in the excess skin my BMI would probably meet the criteria but it didn’t do any good.”

He cannot afford the £8,000 fee for a private op and pointed out he had saved the NHS at least £10,000 by not taking the gastric band surgery and follow up medication.

Disheartened Chris said: “It has put me off running because of the noise of the skin flapping around. I have come this far without NHS help and now they are holding me back. It would just be nice to have the body to match.”

Pamela Palmer, Chief Nurse at South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “We are unable to comment on individual cases however South West Lincolnshire Clinical Commissioning Group has a responsibility in ensuring that its patient population is treated in a fair and equitable manner.

“It is for this reason that the CCG has a policy in relation to individual funding requests in place. This policy clearly identifies who is and who is not entitled to treatment and the associated criteria against which decisions are made, this would include allowance for consideration of exceptional circumstances.

“We would advise any individual to contact their GP or other health professional to discuss whether or not a referral into the individual funding request process is warranted either now or in the future.”