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1,173 NHS NOSE JOBS; Taxpayers fork out pounds 3m for surgical procedures in 5yrs.

Byline: BY CATHY BLACK and ANDREA CLARKE

THE NHS has performed more than 1,000 nose jobs in Northern Ireland in five years.

A total of 1,173 patients had the procedures and there were also 65 tummy tucks between 2002 and last year.

These cosmetic operations cost the taxpayer more than pounds 3million.

In 2002, in response to an increasing demand for publicly-funded elective cosmetic surgery, clinical decision guidelines were developed to select those patients who should receive treatments.

These guidelines also state that performing surgery for aesthetic reasons should be low-priority.

However, some surgeons claimed the demand for cosmetic surgery on the NHS is putting a huge strain on resources.

They said many patients are placing doctors in an impossible position by refusing to accept they cannot have free operations.

All health authorities issue guidelines stressing operations such as nose jobs and breast enlargements are only justified in very specific cases.

But the latest study, to be published in the British Journal of Plastic Surgery, found that surgeons are turning a blind eye to the rules because of pressure from patients.

It found some surgeons were agreeing to operate - despite knowing there were no medical grounds - as they could not face the time and misery involved in turning patients down.

More worryingly, the statistics also confirmed that in a typical NHS clinic almost half of requests for nose jobs and a quarter of requests for tummy tucks were granted.

The research team was led by Professor Peter Salmon of the University of Liverpool.

Its report described a case in which a woman in her late 30s demanding breast implants was referred to a psychologist and a psychiatrist, who concluded she did not need them.

Despite this, the surgery went ahead.

Another woman in her 20s who wanted a breast enhancement became so distressed when told a psychologist thought it was inappropriate that the surgeon caved in.

The report stated: "Surgeons described feeling pressurised by some patients' emotional and insistent presentations, and believed some patients contrived their presentation in the attempt to elicit a surgical decision."

65 THE NUMBER OF TUMMY TUCKS ON THE HEALTH SERVICE IN THE SAME PERIOD
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Nov 18, 2008
Words:361
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