Nose jobs and hair re­moval on the NHS!

‘SPE­CIAL AP­PROVAL’ FOR OPS

Sunday Sun - - News - By Katie Dick­in­son Re­porter katie.dick­in­son@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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