The NHS plans to cut back on 17 procedures to save £200million a year, including breast reductions, tonsil removals and snoring operations.
Varicose vein surgery, haemorrhoid operations and procedures to remove benign skin lesions could also be slashed under the proposals.
The plans, which were revealed today, aim to prevent more than 100,000 unnecessary procedures taking place in the UK annually.
NHS England said hundreds of millions of pounds could be saved every year by tightening criteria for treatments where the risks… outweigh the benefits.
Scroll down to see the 17 treatments that could be cut back
It said the proposals will ensure procedures, such as those for carpal tunnel and lesions on eyelids, will only take place where there is good reason to do so.
Alternative treatments such as injections, changes of diet or physiotherapy will be effective in the majority of cases, NHS England said.
National medical director Professor Stephen Powis said If we want the very best clinical care for our patients, we need to stop putting them through treatments where risks and harms outweigh the benefits.
By reducing unnecessary or risky procedures for some patients we can get better outcomes while reducing waste and targeting resource to where it is most needed.
Speaking to the Times, he added this would be the first stage in looking at situations where surgery is better avoided.
He told the paper We shouldn’t, at best, inconvenience or disappoint patients by offering treatments that are not effective and, at worst, harming patients.
NHS England’s board of directors will meet next week to discuss the plans which will then be put out to consultation.
Other procedures on the list of 17 include grommets for glue ear and hysterectomies for heavy menstrual bleeding, with the plans drawn up in consultation with the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (Nice).
Four of them will be offered only when a patient makes a specific request, with the other 13 being offered only when specific criteria are met.
Professor Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive at Nice, said It has become commonplace for us to associate action with treatment.
However, sometimes doing nothing, or doing less, really is the best approach.
Treatments and procedures that carry a high risk or are associated with serious side effects should only be offered when there is compelling evidence that the benefits are worthwhile.
Dr Graham Jackson, co-chair of NHS Clinical Commissioners, said It is important that we have an honest conversation with the public, patients and clinicians about what can be expected from the NHS within the constrained funds it has available.
The plans, put forward by NHS England, would see the commissioning of the below 17 procedures reduced or stopped.
Other, less invasive, treatments would be used instead to save money.
Four procedures will only be offered upon a request from the patient.
– Snoring surgery
– Dilation and curettage for heavy menstrual bleeding
– Knee arthroscopies for osteoarthritis
– Injections for non-specific back pain.
A further 13 treatments will only be offered when certain conditions are met.
– Breast reduction
– Removal of benign skin lesions
– Grommets for glue ear
– Haemorrhoid surgery
– Hysterectomy for heavy menstrual bleeding
– Removal of lesions on eyelids
– Removal of bone spurs for shoulder pain
– Carpal tunnel syndrome release
– Dupuytren’s contracture release
– Excision of small, non cancerous lumps on the wrist called ganglia
– Trigger finger release
– Varicose vein surgery
News Source MirrorNews