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Re: NHS Funding: FAQ

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Hi Pompey Girl

Sorry to hear things things seem to be going round in circles for you at the moment – hang in there hun, it does feel like you have to jump all these hurdles, but I’m sure things will start moving for you soon.

I don’t know how things work for your PCT, so can only tell you how mine went, hope it helps…

I first asked my GP about surgery in July ’08 after trying every diet, weight loss program going… she referred me to a dietician at my local hospital as at that time I didn’t have any diagnosed co-morbidities. By the October, my IIH had been diagnosed, which is a recognised co-morbidity. I was at my GP’s surgery in the December and in a bit of a state (which is putting it mildly – almost hysterical as I couldn’t cope with the pain) and she printed the application form off there and then. She also referred me privately to Shaw Somers.

I saw Shaw privately in the January who confirmed that I would be a suitable candidate for surgery and that I would also qualify for NHS funding. He wrote a letter to my GP who forwarded it onto the PCT. My consultant neurologist, who I see for my IIH, also wrote a letter supporting bariatric surgery as a treatment for me, which my GP sent to the PCT.

Unfortunately, in the February, the PCT wrote back to my GP and told her she had filled in the old form, so she had to complete the new form. Then they wrote back in March to say she hadn’t sent any of the supporting paperwork with the application (even though they already had it all with the 1st application – severe lack of joined up thinking!!!!)

Sooooo, in March, she sent another copy of the new form, with a copy of everything, including copies of letters from both consultants and I got the ok from the PCT in April ’09.

I then had to be re-referred to St. Richard’s as an NHS patient, had my first appointment in the July and my op in the November.

My GP recommended that I see Shaw privately for my initial consultation as she felt it would speed up the process – I honestly don’t know whether it did or not, but apart from the paperwork issues, the funding approval was pretty quick when I compare it to many others.

As I say, I hope this helps. All I can recommend is if you have any co-morbidities, it can’t do any harm to get your specialists on side and get letters of from them to send to the PCT to support your application.

I do know that plenty of people do get their funding in place before they see a bariatric consultant, many others see the consultant first – doesn’t really help your situation, but I guess it might help to let you know you aren’t the only one who’s application is sent this way.

The other thing to remember is that there is an appeals process, so if your application is rejected, you can appeal.

Hopefully, Toni or someone else in the know, will be along soon and will be able to let you know how the referral to a consultant before your funding is secured would work – or you could look into seeing someone privately for the initial consulation, like I did.

Hope things get moving for you soon hun.

Take care

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