Blackpool patients face having to lose weight before surgery

Women looking for breast reduction surgery on the NHS in Blackpool may have to prove their Body Mass Index has been at 27.5 or below for two years before funding will be considered.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 11th December 2017, 7:31 am
Updated Monday, 11th December 2017, 7:40 am
Overweight patients face being told to shed the pounds in order to have breast reduction surgery
Overweight patients face being told to shed the pounds in order to have breast reduction surgery

Heavily overweight and obese people won’t be able to get breast reduction surgery on the NHS in Blackpool, it was revealed.

As part of plans to axe routine cosmetic surgery, anybody unable to show a ‘stable’ body mass index (BMI) of 27.5 for two years will be told their operation won’t be funded.

And those who do will also have to prove they are having at least 500g of tissue removed, and have other health problems linked with large breasts, such as skin inflammation or infection, or neck, shoulder or back pain that won’t go away through physiotherapy or ‘professionally-fitted bras’, documents showed.

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BMI is used to work out whether a person’s weight is healthy, calculated by dividing their weight in kilograms by their height in metres squared.

For most adults, an ideal BMI is in the 18.5-24.9 range. Those who fall between 25 and 29.9 are considered overweight, while those between 30 and 39.9 are classed as obese.

Breast implants, the correction of asymmetrical breasts, and breast uplifts will not be routinely funded under any circumstances, papers added, while implants will only be removed in certain situations.

Plans to restrict the number of people having taxpayer-funded cosmetic surgery on the NHS went out for consultation last month.

Commissioners ‘would not fund procedures where the main purpose is to change the appearance of a part of the body and not to treat a functional or medical problem,” a spokesman for Fylde and Wyre Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) previously said.

And last year, resort chiefs revealed plans to strictly enforce guidelines for procedures it classes as ‘low clinical value’ in a bid to save £6.4 million.

They include face or brow lifts, which will ‘not be performed to correct the natural process of aging’, hair transplants, and the provision of wigs – which will only be given to cancer or ‘trauma’ patients once every three years.

Tummy tucks, removal of excess skin, and nose jobs will also be more heavily restricted.

Blackpool CCG, which is responsible for organising and paying for residents’ healthcare, said it needed to save £6.4m because it can’t afford to keep paying for the number of procedures currently being carried out.

Chief clinical officer, Dr Amanda Doyle, said in the past: “There is no endless pot of money and the current situation is not sustainable.

“We have a responsibility to make the best use of the resources available to us and ensure public money is spent wisely within the local healthcare system.

“We have to ‘live within our means’ and we need the public’s help to do that. “We have plans to address this financial challenge whilst still providing services of the highest quality but to do

this we are going to have to make difficult decisions in order to make best use of the money available to us.” She continued: “The number of people being referred by their GP for hospital procedures or operations has increased year-on-year, and is now well beyond what we can actually afford.

“We need to make sure that the policies and procedures we have in place for when people should and shouldn’t be referred by their GP are followed to the rule.

“We also need people to be more realistic with what they request on prescription from their GP.”