Woman wins court bid to have gastric bypass
A mother of three is believed to have become the first person in the country to use a judicial review to force the NHS to give her a gastric bypass so she can lose weight, her solicitor has said.
Hazel Kent sought a judicial review, which often involves human rights issues and planning decisions, after she was refused the operation by her local PCT.
The 40 year old was denied the treatment despite her weight reaching nearly 16 stone.
The divorcee had already paid for one operation in September 2001 and saw her weight drop from 17 and a half stone to 10 stone, making her a size 12.
But two and a half years later the gastric band came loose and had to be removed to prevent Mrs Kent, of Bracknell, Berkshire, contracting blood poisoning.
Despite being given appetite-suppressing drugs, Mrs Kent’s weight increased after the gastric band was removed.
However, East Berkshire PCT refused to pay for a second, more permanent, gastric bypass, which cost between £8,000 and £15,000 each time.
She launched her own fight for the PCT to reverse its decision but when this failed Mrs Kent employed McCool Patterson Hemsi solicitors to take her claim to the High Court.
Mrs Kent has now won her battle after the PCT decided not to contest the judicial review in the High Court and fund her treatment.
She hopes to have the surgery by Christmas.
Mrs Kent’s solicitor, Oliver Wright, said: “I believe this is the first time a judicial review has been used for someone seeking a gastric bypass. There is no other recorded case of it.
“This operation is going to make Mrs Kent go back down to a size 12 and so she is not going to get heart disease, type 2 diabetes and all those things she will get if she continues as she is and which will all cost the NHS a fortune.
“The problem is that PCTs work on a yearly budget so they see the cost of such operations as £8,000 this year but they don’t see how much they could save in future years.”