30st Wendy Phillips Admits 'I'm Too Fat To Work But Won't Lose Weight Unless NHS Pays For £15,000 Gastric Band'

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

A 30st mother-of-three is insisting she cannot lose weight unless the NHS pays for gastric surgery.

Wendy Phillips was forced to give up her job at a care home five years ago, after she developed a back injury because of her size.

She says she’s been too fat to work since then and has claimed around £30,000 in sickness benefits.

wendy phillips and husband sean

Wendy Phillips and her husband Sean

Despite Wendy’s lifestyle, her husband Sean is a qualified fitness instructor who goes to the gym three times a week and ran a marathon last year.

Yet Wendy says she’s unable to take advantage of his expertise – and says the only way she’ll slim is if the NHS pays for a gastric bypass, which can cost up to £15,000.

The NHS has refused funding on the grounds she hasn’t proved she’s willing to change her lifestyle, but 5ft 2 Wendy – who has a BMI of 76.8 (18-25 is healthy) tells Closer magazine this is “unfair.”

Speaking as it was revealed more than 7,000 adults in Britain are claiming benefits because they claim their excessive weight prevents them from earning a living – costing taxpayers £28m a year – Wendy said: “I know I’ve been stupid – now I’m too fat to work.

"I was greedy and ate too many sausage rolls. But it’s too late for me to help myself now. I try to diet, but exercise is painful.

“I worked and paid my taxes for 20 years, so I didn’t expect the NHS to shut the door in my face. If they don’t help me, I’ll die. Taxpayers see fat people as a burden, but alcoholics get help. I’m being treated unfairly.”

Wendy added: “Sean’s advised me about nutrition and exercise, but I don’t have as much willpower as him. I’m sensitive about my weight so he doesn’t push me.”

The 46-year-old from Barnstaple, Devon, was a size 16 before she fell pregnant with her first son at 21. She struggled to lose weight after her pregnancies and indulged in a lifetime of snacking.

During each pregnancy, her daily intake of food would typically consist of a cheese sandwich, a packet of crisps, a steak and kidney pie with mash and “large” wedges of cheese for snacks.

In 2006, while at work, Wendy sustained a back injury lifting a patient. A physiotherapist confirmed her weight had caused wear and tear on her spine, leading to the injury. She says: “It was agony. I was basically bed-ridden, so I couldn’t go to work.”

wendy phillips husband sean

Wendy and Sean with their daughter

Yet she still refused to diet – and ballooned to 25st within 18 months. She says: “I comfort ate. I’d snack on packets of crisps and chocolate. Four times a week, I’d have a takeaway. I was secretly eating 4,000 calories a day.”

Wendy began claiming a £100 weekly disability living allowance 28 weeks after sustaining her injury – which rose to £130 after three years. Over the past six years, she’s claimed around £30k.

Since then, Wendy has only attempted to diet once – so she could fit into her wedding dress. But once the big day was over, the weight crept back on.

She adds: “I’m ashamed I haven’t been able to work and I’ve claimed so much in benefits. I wish I could stick to diets, but some people just don’t have self- control – it’s not our fault.”

In 2009, at 30st and a size 36, Wendy discussed gastric surgery with her doctor. She was told she’d have to attend a weight-loss clinic for 12 weeks to prove her dedication to losing weight – but still failed to shift the pounds.

“They wanted me to eat porridge but it gave me diarrhoea, so I ate toast instead,” she admits. “I ate healthy meals like pork steak and boiled potatoes and exercised – lifting cans of beans every day – but it didn’t help.”

SEE ALSO:


After her bypass funding was refused, Wendy, who has arthritis and high blood pressure, sobbed: “It’s not fair.”

Wendy, who insists she no longer snacks, now typically eats Rice Krispies or two slices of toast, followed by a cheese sandwich and large portion of pasta.

She says: “I know I eat more than I should, but I feel let down. I’m costing the state so much in benefits, and the NHS has offered me walking frames and a custom-made shower – all that costs money.

“They’d be better off paying for the op. I want to work and play with my granddaughter, but I can only walk five steps. I need a gastric bypass – there’s nothing more I can do.”

Sean, who’s now a nurse, says: “I haven’t always known how much Wendy’s eating. It’s been disappointing, especially when she’s refused to come to the gym with me, but she’s strong willed.”

GP Dr Sarah Jarvis says: “If Wendy stuck to a healthy diet she could lose weight – surgery isn’t her only option. Patients who are unable to lose weight prior to gastric surgery will be less successful afterwards anyway.”

Closer magazine is on sale now.

closer

Related on HuffPost:

Britain's Obesity Crisis
of
Share
Tweet
Advertisement
Share this
close
Current Slide

Suggest a correction

Presented by HomeSense