BREAST reductions and operations to stop people snoring are on NHS bosses’ hit-list of 17 routine procedures that could be cut to save £200 million annually.
A raft of minor operations, including tonsillectomy for sore throats and varicose vein surgery, will be axed to prevent more than 100,000 ‘unnecessary procedures’ taking place annually an NHS chief said last night.
The treatments have been highlighted as ‘ineffective or risky’ and should be offered only if they are judged to be of ‘compelling’ benefit and there are no alternatives, reports the BBC.
A provisional list of 17 procedures deemed ‘useless’ has been drawn up by NHS England in a step to banish ineffective and outdated treatments. And patients will be told they have an obligation not to demand unnecessary surgery.
What are the 17 procedures to be stopped or reduced?
Removal of benign skin lesions
Grommets for Glue Ear
Hysterectomy for heavy menstrual bleeding
Chalazia (lesions on eyelids) removal
Anthroscopic compression for subacromial 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
Injections for non-specific back pain
Dilatation and curettage for heavy menstrual bleeding
Knee arthroscopies for osteoarthritis
NHS England medical director Stephen Powis, who took up his post earlier this year, said he was eradicating or cutting back on ‘unnecessary or risky procedures’.
Snoring surgery, back pain injections and keyhole surgery for arthritis are included in the procedures earmarked to be banished under the plans.
And other treatments such as haemorrhoid surgery, the removal of skin lesions and grommets for glue ear will be performed on a case-by-case basis only, as they are seen as problems that get better by themselves.
Professor Powis said that by stopping at least 100,000 of the 350,000 of these procedures carried out annually at a cost of £400million it was realistic that half this sum could be saved.
Pointless treatments cost the NHS around £2billion a year, according to estimates from senior doctors.