Can I have cosmetic surgery on the NHS?

A8. In general, cosmetic surgery is not available on the NHS. However, there may be circumstances in which the NHS will pay although this is usually when combined with reconstructive plastic surgery.

If you require surgery to rebuild or repair a part of your body that has been damaged by an injury or illness then the NHS will pay for this. This is seen as ‘medically essential’.

However, cosmetic surgery is seen as ‘elective’: that means it is something the patient has chosen to have as opposed to being necessary. And, because it is concerned with physical appearance is often treated as a ‘frivolous’ concern.

If you can demonstrate a genuine ‘need’ then you may be able to have cosmetic surgery on the NHS; if not, then you will have to find a private clinic or hospital.

If you have private medical insurance then be aware that most insurers will not pay out for cosmetic surgery.

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