Although the Government restrictions relating to COVID-19 mean that we are presently unable to see our weight loss patients in person, we’re still here to support you on your journey.
You can book a telephone appointment with one of our expert dietitians by calling our Weight Loss Surgery Support team on 0121 445 7547. If you require urgent clinical advice, we’re still offering this, 24 hours a day.
You’ll find the answers to the questions our weight loss patients ask most frequently regarding their treatment and aftercare during COVID-19 below.
Q. I feel that I need additional weight loss support, but because of the current COVID-19 restrictions I can’t visit you in person. What should I do?
A. You can book a telephone appointment with one of our expert dietitians by calling our Weight Loss Surgery Support team on 0121 445 7547. If you require urgent clinical advice, this is still available 24 hours a day.
Q. Because of the government’s COVID-19 restrictions, the gastric band aftercare that I agreed to isn’t available at the moment. Will my aftercare period be extended because of this?
A. Yes, we are committed to providing you with the aftercare that you expected when you began your weight loss treatment. If your gastric band aftercare package was still valid on Monday 16th March, it will be paused from this date and will recommence within 6 weeks of the restrictions being lifted sufficiently to allow face to face appointments.
If you are still accessing dietetic support during the lockdown period, this will be provided as a gesture of goodwill by The Hospital Group in order to provide you with guidance during this time.
Q. I think that I might need fluid removed from my band. What should I do?
A. Please contact us to discuss, as we are able to offer appointments for this depending on your symptoms.
Q. I would like fluid added to my band. Is this possible?
A. Unfortunately we can’t offer this service at the moment due to the COVID-19 restrictions regarding non-essential travel. We are required to work within government guidelines and these state that only urgent medical care can be provided while we are still under the rules of lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Q. How will I know when I will be able to book in to have fluid added to my band?
A. We will be in touch with our patients to let them know when we are able to offer face to face appointments again once the COVID-19 restrictions allow this. We will also announce this on our social media channels and on our website.
Q. If I go to another provider to have fluid added to my band, will this affect my aftercare?
A: The UK Government restrictions state that non-essential travel should not be undertaken at this time, and having fluid added to your gastric band is currently deemed to be non-essential. In addition, there is a risk of infection when fluid is added to the band, and there is also the possibility that another provider could damage the port or the tubing. For these reasons, should another provider add fluid to your band, your surgical warranty will become null and void. However, you will still be able to speak to and/or see our practitioners for appointments.
Q. I’m not able to have a gastric band fill at the moment, so as an alternative should I look to buy slimming tablets or try the latest miracle diet instead, so that I can lose weight?
A. It’s important that you aren’t tempted by pills or fad diets that promise you will lose weight with very little effort. You can find information and guidance on this on the British Dietetic Association website at https://www.bda.uk.com/resource/fad-diets.html
You can also call us to arrange a telephone appointment with one of our specialist dietitians if you need support.
Q. What additional support is available?
A. Bandboozled is a weight loss surgery hub which provides advice and support following your surgery to help you achieve your weight loss goals.
All gastric band patients who had surgery on or after 1st August 2018 have 1 year’s free membership of Bandboozled, as do gastric bypass and sleeve patients who had their surgery from 1st August 2019.
Bandboozled also have a special offer for The Hospital Group weight loss surgery patients, which means that you can enjoy a free month’s membership, no matter when you had your surgery. This includes patients who may already have had membership which has expired. After the initial free month, you can then continue your membership for just £4.95 per month until the end of lockdown – less than half the usual price. You can email Bandboozled at [email protected] to activate your free membership.
Bandboozled is also offering free post and packaging on portion plates to help patients control their food portion sizes during lockdown. Find out more at https://bandboozled.co.uk/
Q. I had a gastric bypass or sleeve procedure and am due my routine review appointment 3-6 months after my operation. Are these still available?
A. Yes, you can speak to a dietitian by phone or video call while the COVID-19 restrictions are in place. If you have an urgent medical need to speak to your surgeon, we can liaise with them on your behalf.
Q. I have had a gastric bypass or sleeve and am due a Vitamin B12 injection, but have been advised that this is not possible at the moment because of coronavirus. What should I do?
A. The British Obesity and Metabolic Surgery Society have published interim guidance on this. You should purchase an oral supplement containing 1000µg (micrograms) and take this daily until such a time that your injections can restart.
Q. I was having an investigation before the coronavirus restrictions were implemented. What is the current situation?
A. You should continue to liaise with our Weight Loss Support team so that we can obtain clinical input from your surgeon and assess the need for further action. Should you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Weight Loss Surgery Support team on 0121 445 7547.
Q. Does my surgery make me more vulnerable in terms of contracting coronavirus?
A. No. Weight loss surgery does not make you more vulnerable to coronavirus compared with the general population and optimising fitness and weight reduction probably confers a benefit. Unless you have other health conditions, you simply need follow the Government guidelines and take the precautions recommended for people in the COVID-19 non-vulnerable category.
Q. When do you expect to be able to restart appointments?
A. We will keep our patients informed in line with changing governmental and regulatory guidance.