The father of a teenage girl in the grips of a crippling stomach disorder has spoken of his devastation after the NHS refused to pay for vital surgery.

Lauren Dobbe, 14, was diagnosed six months ago by a doctor as needing a £17,198 operation to have a gastric stimulator fitted allowing her to eat again.

But Merton Clinical Commissioning Group has refused the operation, saying it may not be effective and could make her condition worse.

Her father James Dobbe, 47, said: "I am devastated they have knocked us back, I just want my daughter to be free of pain.

"She wakes up in the morning saying she is in pain, and she goes to bed saying she is pain.

"How can the NHS refuse to give a 14-year-old girl her life back?"

"How can they refuse to give a family their life back?"

Lauren, who goes to Holy Cross School in New Malden, was hit by gastroparesis in March last year.

Her stomach struggles to digest food, causing her to vomit regularly, feel full quickly, and experience drastic weight loss.

For the first few months Lauren, who lives with her family in Holland Avenue, Sutton, had to eat baby food and nutritional milkshakes.

She is now rigged up to a feeding machine at home - which delivers the food directly to her intestines through a tube.

But six months ago Lauren’s consultant paediatrician Dr Sonny Chong at St Helier Hospital diagnosed she would need a gastric stimulator inserted into her stomach.

Dr Chong submitted an individual funding request form to the South London Commissioning Group - an NHS body able to release the money to fund the operation.

But on August 27 the group wrote back refusing the £17,198 needed.

Dr Caroline Chill, local GP and governing body member of the Merton Clinical Commissioning Group, said: "We fully appreciate how important it is for Lauren and her family to get the very best care to give her a better quality of life. 

"The CCG has arranged to meet Lauren's family and her paediatrician this week to find a collective solution for her care.
"The application for this procedure was carefully considered in terms of its potential effectiveness as well as any risk of complications that might make Lauren's condition worse.
"Having studied the evidence presented to the panel, they have been unable to authorise this treatment to date."