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NHS Postcode lottery affecting breast cancer reconstructive surgery

Published on 30/11/2011

The NHS postcode lottery means that only one in five women who undergo mastectomies receive breast reconstruction on the NHS, according to experts.


The rate of reconstructive surgery is affected by the NHS postcode lottery

The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) has highlighted the discrepancy between reconstructive surgery rates in different areas of the country.

An official audit has shown that only nine per cent of women have access to the procedures in some parts of England, compared to 23 per cent of women in other areas.

Nationally, only 21 per cent of the 15,500 women who had mastectomies last year had reconstruction surgery last year. Tim Goodacre, president of the association, said:

"Unfortunately, services in England are very much determined by local provision. It is very patchy. It's very much the case that there's a postcode lottery."

Mr Goodacre also said reconstruction surgery could make an enormous difference to the psychological wellbeing of women following mastectomy.

The best technique for the procedure is microsurgical free tissue transfer, but due to higher costs of this type of surgery and lack of trained surgeons, most patients are offered artificial implants which require follow up care.

One way to avoid the postcode lottery and guarantee reconstructive surgery in a hospital of your choice is with private medical insurance. Patients with full cancer cover will be covered for reconstructive surgery on their policy.

Compare health insurance policies online now to make sure your healthcare is protected in the future.

© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2011


Categories:  NHS and Hospitals
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