Tax-payers face a bloated bariatric surgery bill from Laura Ripley, a 28-year-old from Hastings whose weight-loss operations have become cause for concern.
In 2009, Ripley provoked outrage when she revealed to Closer magazine she still ate junk food despite an £8K gastric sleeve on the NHS.
Despite continuing to eat chocolate and crisps every day, a 25st 8lbs Laura is booked in for a gastric bypass in June, which will cost the taxpayer up to £15,000. Laura is also hoping for arm and thigh lifts and a tummy tuck, on the NHS, worth a total of £12,000.
She says: “Some people might say I don’t deserve the second operation, but I do. It’s not my fault – I crave chocolate like every other woman. I always allow myself a few treats a day – usually two packets of Quavers and a chocolate bar at night.
“After my op, I ate small portions to start with – and I’ve done my best to lose weight. but I found I could eat more, so I did.”
In summer 2010 Laura – who had her disability allowance reinstated after gaining weight – saw her doctor, who confirmed her stomach had stretched. She was added to the waiting list for a gastric bypass – where the stomach capacity is halved.
Tam Fry of the National Obesity Forum has accused Laura Ripley of scrounging off the system: “Laura would have been told what to eat after her gastric sleeve, but she’s ignored advice and gone back to her old ways. The NHS came to her aid when it was necessary, but now could be denying someone with a life-threatening illness, like cancer, surgery.”
Laura, who’s always struggled with her weight, says: “I had to lose weight for the sleeve – which I did – but I don’t have the willpower to do it again. I sometimes feel guilty about all the money that’s been spent on me. But, after the bypass, I could be 16st by Christmas. Then, I won’t eat crisps or chocolate.”
The full feature appears in this week’s Closer magazine, on sale now.