NHS England are planning to make savings estimated to be around £200 million by tightening criteria for treatments where ‘the risks… outweigh the benefits’.
Breast reductions, operations to stop people snoring, haemorrhoids and varicose veins procedures will only take place where there is good reason to do so.
National medical director Professor Stephen Powis said: “If we want the very best clinical care for our patients, we need to stop putting them through treatments where risks and harms outweigh the benefits.
“By reducing unnecessary or risky procedures for some patients we can get better outcomes while reducing waste and targeting resource to where it is most needed.
“NHS England’s board of directors will meet next week to discuss the plans which will then be put out to consultation.”
Which treatments will be affected?
It is proposed four treatments will be offered only when a patient makes an individual request.
- Surgery to cure snoring
- Dilatation and curettage for heavy menstrual bleeding
- Knee arthroscopies for osteoarthritis
- Injections for non-specific back pain.
A further 13 procedures will only to be offered when specific criteria are met:
- Breast reduction
- Removal of benign skin lesions
- Grommets for Glue Ear
- Tonsillectomy for sore throats
- Haemorrhoid surgery
- Hysterectomy for heavy menstrual bleeding
- Chalazia (lesions on eyelids) removal
- Removal of bone spurs for shoulder pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome release
- Dupuytren’s contracture release for tightening of fingers
- Ganglion excision – removal of noncancerous lumps on the wrist or hand
- Trigger finger release
- Varicose vein surgery
NHS England plans to consult publicly on the proposals between 4th July and 28th September, with changes planned to start in 2019-20.