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Private care for 'cosmetic' issues

(75 Posts)
Franbern Sun 24-Mar-24 09:18:28

A life long socialist, I am appalled at the number of older people who using their savings for medical care these days. The NHS has been slowly but persistently privatised over the past 14 years.

Never thought I would ever be one of those people, however over the past year I have developed a whole lot of nasty looking wart like growths on my face, mainly on my cheek. As I have previously had three Bcc's removed from my face, so did go to my GP . These were checked at local hospital Dermatology clinic and came back as 'benign - nothing to worry about'!!!

which is all very well, but they were extremely ugly and I was very aware of them. Conscious the whole time when with other people, could even see them from the corner of my eye. Would sit talking to other people with my hand covering that half of my face. Had to go back to dermatology to have something cut off the tip of my nose, and the lovely young technician, looked at these and told me she would love to be permitted to cut them all out - but was not allowed!!!

I started to cancel going out and meeting people, hated catching a glimpse of my face in a mirror. My two eldest daughters suggested I consider having them removed privately as there really was no other way.

They found a superb local clinic and an appointment was made. The whole lot were removed in the one sitting, plus a couple of skin tags. I was in the chair for about 40 minutes. Took about 7-10 days for them all finally clear up, and I am so very much happier. Can look at myself in the mirror, taking a pride in my appearance.
Cost me £350 = and well worth it. BUT surely, cosmetic appearance like this should be under the Health Service, I am fortunate that I could afford that amount on a 'one off'.

GrannySomerset Sun 24-Mar-24 09:22:19

I fear we are getting to the stage when if something isn’t life threatening the NHS won’t deal with it despite storing up more expensive care needs down the line. I now take the view that I will pay for treatment that I can and hope the system will look after me when I really need it - though at over 80 this may be a forlorn hope.

tanith Sun 24-Mar-24 09:27:09

In an ideal world it should be covered but financial constraints and the horrendous waiting lists for essential surgeries is already overwhelming how on earth could it be afforded?
I’m happy that you were able to take care of your facial blemishes I’m sure it’s improved not only your looks but your mental state which is great.

foxie48 Sun 24-Mar-24 09:34:50

I think when resources are limited the NHS has to make decisions about what to treat. I paid privately to have the veins in my legs treated, I am now happy to wear shorts and dresses instead of always covering my legs in trousers. It was mainly a cosmetic problem although my legs ached at times but I would never have got them done via the NHS as they weren't "bad" enough. what makes me sad is when people who need new hips and knees are waiting for months and sometimes years in pain when they could be pain free and mobile again. Whilst they are waiting they are often creating more health problems as they can't exercise and are compensating and causing other skeletal problems. If I need a new hip or knee, I'll spend the kids inheritance on it!

Mel1967 Sun 24-Mar-24 09:35:51

Just over 2 years ago, I paid to have a breast reduction.
I didn’t meet the NHS criteria.
The best thing I ever did.
And has certainly improved my mental health.

pascal30 Sun 24-Mar-24 09:42:32

It sounds as though you had a good deal with the clinic, when you consider how much we are having topay for dental care now.. I think we are going to be forced to take financial responsibility for our own health more and more if something isn't life threatening..

Greyduster Sun 24-Mar-24 09:55:45

I have a skin tag where it catches on my underwear and bleeds. I had it looked at by the surgery and they agreed it needed to be removed, but the wait is eight months to a year. The advice was to “put a plaster over it”. I can see that I will have to go down the private road sooner rather than later☹️!

Aveline Sun 24-Mar-24 10:03:13

It seems quite reasonable to me that the NHS doesn't cover cosmetic procedures. Where could they draw the line?

Primrose53 Sun 24-Mar-24 10:09:48

Sounds like money well spent to me Franbern it’s basically just a few big supermarket shopping trips. It’s your money so spend it as you choose.

The NHS now has to pay for operations for IVF treatments and sex changes and many other things which years ago they didn’t even know about. We also have an aging population and of course millions more people arriving here since the NHS was formed.

My old Dad used to say “look after number one because nobody else will” and you’ve done just that. Don’t feel guilty, it’s your money and I think you got a bargain!

Joseann Sun 24-Mar-24 10:11:49

I can see both sides to this. Someone I know had an NHS procedure on some facial warts because it was affecting her mental health in a bad way. That I can understand. But where does it stop for every blemish?
My DH and I have just retired so we no longer have private medical insurance after 40+ years. sad We could really kick ourselves that he didn't get some skin tags on his leg at the time.

ronib Sun 24-Mar-24 10:32:48

I don’t mind paying for certain procedures which can be done at my convenience and with speed.

Calendargirl Sun 24-Mar-24 10:39:11

Yes, I think that it is reasonable to pay for cosmetic issues.

Kate1949 Sun 24-Mar-24 10:45:18

Grey duster 'Put a plaster over it. Charming. When I lost all my hair I was told by a woman GP to 'Get a wig'.

Glorianny Sun 24-Mar-24 10:56:44

If you had complained enough and made it a real issue then you could probably have had them removed under the NHS the only reason the technician couldn't do so is because she was instructed to only remove a certain thing from your nose. It sounds like very little, asking her to remove more, but she is only a technician and not qualified to decide what should be removed. Suppose as well a series of patients required more work. her appointment system would simply fail.
You would probably have had a very long wait under the NHS.
It's a sign that we already have a two tier health system. You were able to pay and chose to.

Shelflife Sun 24-Mar-24 11:33:59

Franbern, why shouldn't you pay for the treatment, money well spent at a very reasonable price! In an ideal word these procedures would be on the NHS……... We are not in an ideal world. Interesting that as a socialist you were appalled at the number of people using their savings to pay for medical care - until you needed a procedure!! Then it was ok. I would do the same but my savings are for just that - I don't buy clothes very often nor do I have expensive foreign holidays . This would probably be unable me to have a ' minor' medical procedure done privately. Your DDs were correct in persuading you to go privately and I am happy to hear it was such a success.

Shelflife Sun 24-Mar-24 11:35:07

Enable not unable!!

Oldbat1 Sun 24-Mar-24 11:38:52

I have a “growth” just on bottom eyelid. Optician said it really needs to be removed but on a positive note he didnt “think” it is cancerous. Optician with my permission sent referral to gp who in fairness contacted the eye hospital. I didnt meet their criteria so couldnt even join a list be seen! It is growing and is very itchy and unsightly but as it is not within my vision nor bleeding nor infected I fail. GP suggested during phone consult that i go privately. This particular optician also works on occasion at the eye hospital. It was him who recommended i needed something done. The policy seems to be to leave a minor issue until it becomes a major issue. DH knows only too well. A Piles diagnosis became Stage 4 bowel cancer through not being checked.

Oldbat1 Sun 24-Mar-24 11:40:44

Yes i am bitter and twisted!

ronib Sun 24-Mar-24 11:51:49

Oldbat1 but you are right to be bitter and twisted. The NHS is well accessed by patients who scream and shout for treatment. For anyone else, it’s a non service.
I have recently become aware that one gp had a nervous breakdown about 6 years ago. He was one of 3 male gps who misdiagnosed and mistreated me. However when explaining this to a friend, he said that his practice had a gp partner who had also resigned due to a mental health breakdown. However the difference was that in my friend’s surgery, the new gp partner insisted on reviewing each patient’s medication and treatment plan. So seems to me that there’s much inequality embedded in the NHS.
I am sorry to hear about your DH.

OldFrill Sun 24-Mar-24 11:52:02

For those saying it's right to have to pay, what about those who can't afford to pay, should it be means tested?
This was causing the OP anguish leading to areluctance to socialise (isolation is a factor in the onset of dementia). It's really not as clear cut as it appears.

Kate1949 Sun 24-Mar-24 12:05:27

Cosmetic problems can seem trivial to those looking in from the outside. They can have a devastating effect on the sufferer. I was at the end of my tether when I lost my hair. On top of problems I already had, it was the final straw. There was no help.

Oldnproud Sun 24-Mar-24 12:07:20


Yes, I think that it is reasonable to pay for cosmetic issues.

What classes as cosmetic, though?

Does that / should that include breast reconstruction after breast removal due to cancer?

Or what about an 18 year old girl who only has one properly-developed breast, and who through acute embarrassment at her 'deformity', has restricted her life since puberty (avoiding boys, not going swimming, wearing baggy tops) to hide it, even from her mother ?

I do know that the second of those is classed as cosmetic (certainly in one NHS trust, at least). Treatment on the NHS was refused when the girl, her self confidence rock bottom, finally plucked up the courage to open up to her family and seek treatment. The two operations involved cost many thousands of pounds privately. The money for the first was found by selling their house, but they will have to go into debt to fund the second.

MissAdventure Sun 24-Mar-24 12:16:04

I watched a documentary about this, years ago, and it was interesting to see that that decisions that surgeons would take regarding "cosmetic" issues still had to be put to a panel, who could decide for or against.

There was a woman who had lost around ten stones, and was left with awful loose skin.

The surgeon was keen to help her, but it was turned down for funding.

Another who had already had quite a lot of surgical procedures, who simply wasn't looking after herself was turned down.

Breast surgery featured a lot, with young women who had extremely small breasts, or one which had never developed.

The surgeon said that years ago, it would just be kept "a secret".

Calendargirl Sun 24-Mar-24 12:22:30

What classes as cosmetic, though?

I agree, that is a problem. I suppose I was thinking of things that weren’t painful or life threatening, but upsetting for the person concerned.

As with many things in life, it’s not an issue until you or your loved ones are affected by it.

Kate1949 Sun 24-Mar-24 12:25:47

That's it exactly Calendargirl.