Cosmetic Surgery in the NHS

Much of so-called cosmetic surgery, for example the correction of gross nasal deformity, protruding ears or major breast abnormality, can enormously improve a patient's quality of life and should be available on the National Health Service.  

When a patient requests a cosmetic surgery procedure, they must undergo a full clinical assessment by the general practitioner, the Plastic Surgeon and, where appropriate, a psychiatrist or psychologist. Many surgeons believe that, in certain cases, patients requesting cosmetic surgery should be enabled to access that surgery via the NHS in order to enjoy the social, psychological and physical benefits that surgery can bring. However, surgery that is carried out purely for cosmetic reasons, i.e. for beautification or rejuvenation, is currently heavily rationed on the NHS.  

In some units, patient assessments are carried out to test the change in quality of life following plastic surgical procedures. The resulting numerical scale of Quality Adjusted Life Years, or QALY scores, gives surgeons and managers a measure of the post-operative benefit gained from procedures that have a major cosmetic component.

NHS funded cosmetic procedures available vary from geographical area to area. If you think you are eligible for cosmetic surgery funded by the NHS, visit your GP who will be able to advise whether this is possible. You may need to ask them specifically to act on your behalf to a panel at the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group which decides if particular procedures which they view as low priority can be funded.