In an effort to free up operating rooms for more essential surgeries, the NHS in Wales has comprised a list of 54 treatments that are now considered low priority and can only be carried out under extreme circumstances.
This is bad news for patients eagerly awaiting a cosmetic operation since procedures such as breast augmentation, tummy tucks, hair grafting for male pattern baldness, reversal of male or female sterilization, liposuction, and even tattoo removal have been moved onto a list commonly known as INNF- Interventions Not Normally Funded. These low priority procedures are being placed on the bottom of the waiting list for time in the operating rooms and clinics of Gwent’s hospitals.
Saving money is one of the reasons the Aneurin Bevan Health Board wants to minimize the occurrence of these types of surgeries. One of the biggest reasons for this new shift in priorities is the need to free up operating space and lesson the waiting time for those in need of essential surgeries. Finances are also a big motivator.
The board assumes that if priority is given to more necessary surgeries rather than to the nearly 5,500 INNF surgeries that took place in Gwent last year, hospitals will be able to save funds by encouraging those seeking plastic surgery to go elsewhere. This rationale has been disputed by hospital directors who believe that the operating theatre will still be in use, and the money will still be pouring out, but the National Public Health Services for Wales believes this is a great solution for a financial problem.
So where does this leave Gwent residents in search of a great cosmetic procedure? There are many private clinics in the area who will perform procedures, but some at exorbitant costs.
Many Gwent residents are trying out a new trend in cosmetic surgery called “cosmetic tourism” where they travel out of the country to get the desired procedures. This is often cheaper and faster than using a local hospital, but patients are cautioned to be wary of the clinics they choose as not all countries have strict standards when it comes to cosmetic procedures.