The NHS and Cosmetic Surgery

June 26th, 2014
The NHS and Cosmetic Surgery

The NHS is currently under financial pressures, as are all public service institutions.

With this in mind, there is something of a debate around the UK as to whether or not it is right to fund cosmetic surgery on the NHS.

This debate really started when a handful of patients who had undergone cosmetic surgery bragged recently about not having to pay for treatments such as rhinoplasty and breast augmentation operations.

Many cosmetic surgery patients feel that dislike of their physical appearance causes them psychological problems. This is why they feel as though the NHS should pay for the treatment.

Members of the public, however, are questioning whether it is right to spend scarce financial resources in this way, particularly when cancer treatment drugs are denied to patients because of cost.

Cosmetic surgery is one of the oldest medical procedures in the world. People throughout history have always required treatment for injuries sustained in battle or from accidents.

What is perhaps different in today’s modern society is treatment is not just about healing but also about changing physical appearance in order to improve psychological well-being.

The question now being asked though is whether the NHS can afford to pay for cosmetic surgery. Opinions are divided.

One doctor from the Lake District, Geoff Jolliffe, believes that while he is not personally against funding cosmetic surgery on the NHS, given economic circumstances, it is a debate that needs to be considered.

He also pointed out that psychological problems associated with a person’s physical condition are very real and should not be dismissed in the way it often is. Having breast enlargement or reduction isn’t just a matter of acquiescing to some selfish desire but helping someone in real distress, Dr. Joliffe told reporters.

Moreover, while cosmetic surgery is in general not considered life threatening, for those at great risk of developing breast cancer, removal of the breast with follow-on reconstructive surgery is often necessary.

 

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