Nose jobs and hair removal on the NHS!
‘SPECIAL APPROVAL’ FOR OPS
BREAST reductions, nose jobs and hair removal were among the more unusual treatments given “special approval” on the North East’s NHS last year.
The region’s clinical commissioning groups approved almost 10,000 requests for treatments that aren’t routinely funded on the NHS.
If a doctor thinks their patient needs one of these treatments they can put in what is known as an ‘individual funding request’ on their behalf.
And doctors in the North East made just less than 13,000 of these requests in the 2016/17 financial year.
Of these around 10,000 - some 72% - were approved, with 20& declined and the other 8% undecided.
The most common procedure was to have scars, moles, skin tags and other benign skin lesions removed, with 1,469 out of 2,073 requests approved.
Newcastle Gateshead Clinical Commissioning Group’s policy is that it must be for something more
medically relevant than just for cosmetic reasons - for example, it could be causing pain or repeated infection.
Just less than half of the 292 requests for breast reduction were approved, compared to two out of 120 applications for breast augmentation.
There were 1,285 applications to treat varicose veins in patients’ legs and 1,003 to undergo carpal tunnel surgery. Carpal tunnel syndrome causes nerve pain in the fingers and thumb.
There were 20 applications for face lifts or brow lifts (11 were approved), 68 for hair removal (15 approved) and 73 for nose jobs (technically called rhinoplasty, 51 were approved).
Some of these treatments cost several thousands of pounds each.
North East CCGs approved almost 10,000 different treatments in total.
Nose jobs cost between £4,500 and £7,000 per treatment.
A carpal tunnel release can cost about £1,500, while liposuction costs between £2,000 and £6,000 each, according to the NHS.
If patients lose their funding request it is possible to appeal, but if that fails then patients will likely have to turn to private healthcare if they still want the treatment.
Dr Neil Morris, medical director at NHS Newcastle Gateshead CCG, said: “Individual funding requests are used to decide on procedures which are generally of limited clinical value. Doctors face a difficult balance in weighing up the likely clinical benefit against the need to make the best possible use of limited resources.
“The North East’s Clinical Commissioning Groups work to agreed regional guidelines, to ensure that these decisions are made fairly and consistently.”
Fifteen hair removal treatments were agreed