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7th Jul, 2022

Mum who lost half her bodyweight 'devastated' after NHS refuses to remove excess skin

A MUM who lost over half her body weight is devastated after the NHS refused to remove remaining saggy skin on her arms.

Sue Summerton weighed over 26 stone and doctors warned her she would not live much longer if she did not do something about it.

The 54-year-old’s weight rocked from a diet of cappuccinos, crisps and chocolate.

The Cubbington resident was housebound and – coupled with arthritis – even taking a few steps was difficult. She needed help with every day things like getting in and out the bath, dressing, and getting out of bed was a struggle.

And when Sue was told she needed to act, she vowed to diet the hard way rather than have a gastric bypass recommended by doctors.

The mum-of-three joined Slimming World and never missed a class during three years, during which she shed nearly 14 stone.

Now down to 13 stone, she was hoping to have the saggy skin left on her arms removed by the NHS – but health chiefs refused the operation.

Sue’s Slimming World consultant Amy Lee said her star pupil had been let down by the NHS and was now spreading the word of the fund-raising page set up by Sue’s daughter to raise enough money for her mum to undergo the procedure privately.

She added: “This incredible woman has done everything in her power to get to her target weight.

“But after all of this effort and money invested in her own weight-loss she has been refused funding and has been let down disgracefully by the NHS so it’s up to us to help her.”

The operation – which would cost around £5,000 – is considered by the NHS as ‘cosmetic’ and is classed as a low priority in the allocation of funding.

Sue said: “I didn’t want the gastric bypass, I wanted to do it properly and I made it the whole way through.

“I know if I would have had the gastric bypass, they would have done the operation for me. But because I chose not to have it, even though I have saved them between £9,000 and £12,000, I can’t have one.”

Exceptions are made in cases where ‘a physical deformity is recognised as being severely abnormal’, or for those with a clinical need other than improving appearance.

But Sue who suffers from high blood pressure said the procedure was necessary as it made pressure readings difficult.

She added: “I’ve cut down my pills but I’m not sure if it’s safe or not, the only way I know my pressure is too low is when I feel dizzy.

“Of course I’m self-conscious too, at least I can hide other places but not my arms. And it’s very difficult to find tops to fit me.”

But the Individual Funding Request Panel refused to allow the operation on the NHS, even after Sue appealed.

NHS South Warwickshire Clinical Commissioning Group, responsible for commissioning the majority of local health services for patients, told The Observer it could not comment on an individual patient’s treatment.

Despite the disappointment, Sue has seen vast improvements in her life and now takes her three grandchildren to and from school – something which was impossible three years ago.

Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/zoe-summerton to help Sue.

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