There is currently little understanding of bariatric patients’ experiences and expectations of the bariatric pre-surgery evaluation (PSE) process. This is especially true for patients within the National Health Service (NHS) in the UK. Consequently, this study undertakes a qualitative study to explore the experiences and expectations of the bariatric PSE amongst patients who had undergone bariatric surgery within the NHS in the UK, using the Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. Three inter-related superordinate themes were presented: (i) ‘PSE was challenging but essential’, (ii) ‘Coping processes to deal with the PSE’, and (iii) ‘Staff and service evaluation’. Most participants had conflicting feelings about the PSE process as it had both positive and negative impacts on their wellbeing. The process was considered essential for preparation and successful post-surgery adjustment, though the uncertainty of approval was experienced as very distressing. Consequently, participants utilised both external and internal coping strategies, such as social support, researching, or ‘toeing the line’. Participants’ experiences encouraged them to provide feedback about the staff and service, which revealed a preference for a tailored evaluation process. The emerged themes represent an initial framework for helping healthcare providers and researchers to involve patients in service delivery thereby facilitating a patient-centred approach. A starting point is to audit patients’ perspectives routinely. Further investigations are needed to better define, validate, and understand constructs and processes identified in this study.
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