Patient information – Why see a specialist?

Welcome to the website of the British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society. We are a professional society of surgeons involved in obesity management. Membership of the Society includes medical professionals and allied health professionals including specialist nurses, dieticians and psychologists.

Obesity is linked to a large number of health problems, including an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypertension, cancer, cardiovascular disease and liver disease. The risk of developing chronic illness and the likelihood of premature mortality increases with a person’s BMI. As well as physical symptoms, the psychological and social burdens of obesity are considerable.

This website doesn’t aim to offer detailed patient information about the range of operations undertaken by Bariatric (weight-loss) surgeons. This information can be found via other patient-focused organisations and we list several below. As a starting point we advise people to visit their GP to talk about weight-loss options. If you are already have a surgical appointment then your bariatric surgeon will be happy to answer your questions.

If you are a interested in bariatric surgery – or are a friend or relative of someone who is interested – you may want to find out about available treatments.

As well as talking to health professionals you will be able to find a great deal of information on other websites, for example, the websites of individual surgeons, Hospital Trusts, health charities and health organisations, nationally and internationally.

Calculate your BMI:

NHS or Private?


Many people will qualify for NHS Bariatric surgery. Ask your GP to find out what is available in your area. If your region does not have a bariatric service, you should be able to ask for a referral to another centre.

The rules about GP referrals differ from CCG to CCG. Some insist that all referrals are Generic but others allow GPs to make direct referrals to named Consultants. If you specifically wish to be referred to a particular Consultant for whatever reason speak to your GP and explain who you want to see and why. Be prepared to be persistent.

The process of “Choose and book” is intended to ensure that patients have five options to choose from in the GP surgery.

NHS information:


Private bariatric surgery is available in some NHS centres, or at other reputable private hospitals supported by the same specialist surgeons. Enquiries can be made direct to the hospital department.

Private patients should be able to choose their surgeon and hospital and timing of surgery. Private bariatric surgery is usually purchased as a ‘care package’. The details of what is included should be carefully studied.

The Private Healthcare Information Network  (PHIN) – is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to make more robust information about private healthcare available and to improve data quality and transparency –

UK or Abroad?

UK-based specialist Bariatric surgeons are fully qualified and covered to perform Bariatric surgery. They must practice surgery to the high standards set by the General Medical Council (GMC). Patients can expect a long term duty of care, which the surgeon must provide or arrange.

European Surgical centres also provide Bariatric Services. Patients seeking surgery in Europe – which may be cheaper than private surgery in the UK – should ensure that arrangements for long-term care have been put in place before surgery. An opinion from a UK specialist can be useful prior to deciding whether and where to go abroad.

Worldwide Centres of Excellence are also available for private bariatric surgery. Again, an opinion from a UK specialist is likely to prove valuable.