NHS Paid Treatments

The NHS

As a rule, cosmetic surgery and other cosmetic treatments will not be covered by the NHS, because such procedures are voluntary in nature. However, reconstructive surgery and cosmetic surgery to correct or improve congenital abnormalities and injuries may be covered, depending on the individual circumstances in the individual case.

In order to qualify for NHS paid cosmetic surgery, you must meet certain criteria set out by your local Primary Care Trust (PCT). Normally you'll need a referral from your GP, a consultation with a plastic surgeon, and an assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist. It can then be decided, if there's sufficient social, psychological, or physical benefit to justify surgery.

For example, if the patient wishes to have eyelid surgery it will be a matter of evaluation as for whether or not the patient is entitled to free treatment paid for by the NHS. A typical argument for having NHS paid eyelid surgery would be that sagging eyelids can decrease the field of vision - that is a physical problem. On the other hand, a desire to look more attractive with lifted eyelids, which is a cosmetic reason, is not valid. Due to this, it's important that you can ground your wish for having surgery on health reasons.

If you think that you may be eligible for an NHS paid procedure, the first step is to consult your GP for an evaluation. If your GP agrees that there's sufficient health reasons for granting you the treatment, he or she will refer you to a specialist.

Patient choice

In Britain we have a scheme called Patient Choice, which means that as a patient in the NHS system you have the right to choose for yourself, which hospital or clinic you wish to receive treatment from. You can choose any NHS hospital, private hospital, or private clinic that comply with NHS standards, and where the required specialty is present.

Your GP can help you find a hospital or clinic, you can search the NHS Choices website, or you can search the Mylooks clinic directory.

For more information on Patient Choice, please see this article: Patient Choice.

Private health insurance

If you're unable to qualify for NHS treatment, you may still be eligible for a contribution from your private health insurance, if you are set up with one. Whether or not you can get a contribution depends entirely on the insurance company's policy, and your individual case.