Super-slimmer who shed 13 stone after turning down gastric band refused NHS op to remove …

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A super-slimmer who shed more than 13st has been refused an NHS operation to have the spare skin removed.

David Harris, 45, went down from 27st 9lb to 14st 3lb after deciding to get slim following a mini-stroke in 2012. The father-of-three now trains in the gym seven days a week and says he feels a lot healthier. But he claims his fitness regime has counted against him, because he has been denied treatment after putting two stone back on – even though that weight is muscle rather than fat. He said: “I am so motivated to build up my strength and muscle, but there is no way you can do anything with loose skin around the belly. “The only place I can’t tone up is the stomach skin – no matter how much abs training or sit-ups I do it will not get rid of the loose skin. “I want to be able to take my top off, but I always have to keep my vest on.” Mr Harris had decided not to opt for treatment which would have helped him lose weight – instead, he lost more than 13st thanks to his own efforts. Now he has also overhauled his diet completely, more than halving his daily calorie intake. He said: “I was just eating junk food – pizzas, kebabs, chips, crisps, cakes and a lot of energy drinks full of sugar.” For the first nine months after he started losing weight, Mr Harris ate Slim-Fast products at breakfast and lunch, with a Weight Watchers dinner and a yoghurt. Now his diet is completely changed, with an emphasis on protein and vegetables. But despite his total transformation, Mr Harris was left dismayed when he was subsequently told he did not qualify for NHS treatment to remove his loose skin. And he said he cannot afford the thousands of pounds it would cost to go private. He explained: “I was told by my doctor that if I lost four or five stone I would be considered for a gastric band. “I lost four stone then five, six, seven. I told them I didn’t want one as I was doing it on my own, I was doing quite well.” But when he asked for the loose skin to be removed, he was turned down. Mr Harris said he has always been able to rely on the support of his wife Michelle. The couple celebrated their 10th wedding anniversary on Valentine’s Day. Addressing David’s case the Welsh Health Specialised Services Committee, the group which is in charge of deciding on whether to approve surgery or not, said a range of information was used to assess whether a patient was eligible for treatment. A spokesman said: “WHSSC has a commissioning policy for body contouring, which covers a range of procedures including abdominoplasty following significant weight loss. “Referring clinicians are asked to provide specific clinical information regarding a patient’s condition and medical history. This information is used to assess eligibility for NHS-funded treatment. “WHSSC recognises that a patient’s condition can change over time and will reconsider requests for treatment on receipt of relevant additional clinical information.” Read more…

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