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New range of operations being discussed

PUBLISHED: 01:12 01 July 2002 | UPDATED: 12:12 03 March 2010

BREAST enlargements and reductions are among a range of operations, whose availability is up for discussion in Ipswich.

Some types of NHS treatment, including liposuction, nose jobs, eyelid lifts, sterilisation reversal, tattoo and varicose vein removal have been restricted in Suffolk - where patients' conditions needed to meet a strict criteria to get their treatment specially funded.

BREAST enlargements and reductions are among a range of operations, whose availability is up for discussion in Ipswich.

Some types of NHS treatment, including liposuction, nose jobs, eyelid lifts, sterilisation reversal, tattoo and varicose vein removal have been restricted in Suffolk – where patients' conditions needed to meet a strict criteria to get their treatment specially funded.

To qualify for some types of treatment, the patient must have developed a psychiatric condition such as anxiety or depression caused by the physical problem.

But the new Ipswich Primary Care Group will decide on Wednesday whether it will adopt the same policy as the former Suffolk Health authority until its demise in April. It could also design its own policy, or cease to have a restriction policy.

Restrictions were first imposed in 1991, when there was a need to reduce very long waits for NHS cosmetic surgery, in order to meet a Government standard stating that nobody should wait for more than two years for NHS surgery. At the time, waits for more minor cosmetic surgery procedures could be up to five or six years. But in East Anglia, access to services still varied until March.

Now the new Strategic Health Authority which covers Suffolk, Norfolk and Cambridgeshire, is reviewing policies used by the counties' former health authorities.

A report by director of public health, Brian Keeble, to be discussed by Ipswich PCT, states: "It is possible that it will recommend the adoption of a uniform policy for the area it covers. This would go some way to ensuring that there was a consistent policy right across East Anglia."

On Wednesday, PCT members will be recommended to adopt the existing policy for the rest of this year, but if the SHA devises a policy, that would replace it.

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