Patients with gastric bands could be at risk of being left without proper aftercare because of a lack of financial regulation in the private healthcare industry, surgeons have claimed.
A group of consultants working for Nuffield Health said there is no official regulatory framework for companies offering weight-loss surgeries.
They said it means that if a company goes bust after carrying out the procedure, patients have no guarantee of receiving the aftercare they need.
The consultants said the situation may lead to a crisis similar to that of the PiP breast implant scandal as companies could simply “wash their hands” of the patients.
Earlier this year it was revealed that about 4,000 women in Scotland may have been given faulty PiP breast implants by private companies which contain non-medical grade silicone intended for industrial use in mattresses.
One extreme side-effect of having a gastric band fitted is that when the patient vomits, in some cases they will throw up their stomach through the band.
It takes about 20 minutes to fit a gastric band under general anaesthetic but the patient could need up to five years of follow-up care, the group said.
They said if the band moves at all, it should be attended to within 24 hours.
The warning follows the collapse of Manchester-based company Surgicare, which launched a weight-loss surgery service in 2006. It claimed to have treated almost 1,000 patients before it went into administration last year.