Nearly 8,000 patients had tummy tucks on the national health society’s dime in the last 6 years. These procedures cost an estimated cost of £50 million. This system has been offered to obese patients and many women who have postpartum depression due to the increased weight they have gained due to pregnancy. The system can cost up to £6500 to have it done annually.
Many feel that health authorities in the region are wasting taxpayer’s money by carrying out surgery for cosmetic reasons while many agree that helping obese patients is important. The study shows that in some parts of England alone, five times more people than the average are having the surgery than normal.
Tummy tuck procedure or abdominoplasty flattens the abdomen by removing both excess skin and fat and tightening abdominal wall muscles. Many argue that surgeon done on the NHS is supposed to be solely for those in clinical need. However, there is no guidance on the surgery itself. Guidance is clear to Dr. Sarah Wollaston, a Conservative member of the Commons’ health selection committee. The NHS doesn’t support any surgery for cosmetic reasons. A good look at those making these decisions is important to determine the cause of this increase in number of procedures conducted in this particular time period.
According to the study, the number of tummy tuck procedures carried out by the National Health Society themselves rose by 6% in 2013 to nearly 1,051 procedures. Over the past six years, 7,939 operations have been conducted. The most operations have been done in Darlington County Durham, where 58 patients alone had the procedure last year. The second highest is in South Birmingham with 52 surgeries and 44 in Camden in North London. The average area had just 10 operations.
The media attention first came as a result of criticism that a single mother and aspiring actress had a tummy tuck on the NHS to help improve her love life. Kelly McManus said she was embarrassed to show her stomach to men after giving birth and wanted to have the surgery to increase her chances at becoming the next “Julia Roberts.”
While she is an excellent example of someone who should have never had the surgery on the NHS’s dime, there are other morbidly obese individuals who do need the help. They have lost a significant amount of weight as a result of weight loss surgery. Decisions about whether these procedures should be carried out are decided upon at a local level, according to the Clinical Commissioning Groups. Each area sets its own criteria for making that decision.
The government is also looking to crack down on the number of women who have had free breast implants paid for by the NHS. Medical advisers are working on new rules to prevent women from citing psychological need as a reason to have cosmetic enhancement surgery at taxpayers’ expense. Many national websites offer advice to those who want to get breast implants or tummy tucks from the NHS. The sites look as if they are funded by private clinics advertising.