13 June 2011

c0030716tsThe NHS in Wales is reportedly spending more than £3 million each year on administering free cosmetic surgery treatments. This astonishing figure will no doubt cause anger among patients waiting for essential surgery, particularly in the face of huge spending cuts to crucial NHS services. Surgeons working in Wales defended the figure, which they say reflects the intense pressure they are under from patients who are often willing to fake distress in order to receive cosmetic surgery for free, on the grounds of emotional suffering. The figures, obtained by following a Freedom of Information request, reveal that since 2008, 617 patients had ear reshaping surgery, 777 women have had breast surgery, including breast implants and breast reduction, and a little fewer than 200 people had nose reshaping surgery. Emma Boon, campaign director at the Taxpayer’s Alliance, said: “The NHS is there for the treatment of those people who are ill and need medical attention and help. “That’s what taxpayers think of when they think of the NHS – they don’t imagine their money is being spent on cosmetic surgery that in some cases simply isn’t justifiable.” But staff at one Welsh hospital defended the spending, saying that many of their patients suffer from physical abuse and bullying and that in these cases cosmetic surgery is justified.