Some NHS procedures to be removed after east London merger

North east London residents may no longer be offered seven procedures deemed a poor use of money on the NHS after a huge merger next year.

Seven different clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), the organisations which decide how NHS funds should be spent in each area, will merge into one in April 2021.

This means residents in Waltham Forest, Redbridge, Havering, Hackney, Newham, Barking and Dagenham and City of London will all have access to the same treatments.

Plans published by the CCGs propose some treatments no longer be offered on the NHS after the merger on the grounds that they are “not a good use of limited NHS resources”.

They plan to change the rules for certain other procedures so that “only people who are likely to benefit” will receive them.

A statement on the Redbridge CCG website reads: “At the moment, (treatment) can be different from borough to borough, which isn’t fair for people and is confusing for people working in the NHS.”

Regarding the treatments it proposes to stop “routinely” paying for, it adds: “We believe the NHS should only pay for procedures to deal with medical conditions and symptoms, for people who will benefit clinically from having the treatment. 

“This means that people won’t have treatment when they don’t need it and the NHS won’t waste money.”

What treatments will no longer be offered

The CCG in Redbridge and Havering plans to no longer offer four procedures on the NHS it deems a poor use of money.

These are operations to help those with heavy periods by removing tissue from inside the womb, split earlobe repair, herbal medicines or treatment for scarring and hyperpigmentation.

The CCG in Waltham Forest plans to no longer offer three procedures on the NHS it deems a poor use of money.

These are laser surgery for short-sightedness, injections for non-specific lower back pain and surgery for snorers.

In exceptional cases, a doctor can fill out an Individual Funding Request in an attempt to have the NHS pay for a service it normally does not fund.

The CCGs in both areas plan to be more specific about who can get certain treatments, limiting them only to those “likely to benefit”.

In Redbridge and Havering these are:

  • cataract surgery
  • breast reduction
  • weight loss surgery
  • surgery for excessive sweating
  • surgery to stop the ears sticking out
  • surgery to help breathe through the nose
  • Dupuytren’s contracture release for when fingers will not uncurl
  • trigger finger treatment for those who struggle to bend finger or thumb
  • grommets to help children with “glue ear” hear properly 

In Waltham Forest these are:

  • breast reduction
  • surgery to stop the ears sticking out
  • surgery to help breathe through the nose
  • Dupuytren’s contracture release for when fingers will not uncurl
  • trigger finger treatment for those who struggle to bend finger or thumb
  • grommets to help children with “glue ear” hear properly
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Victoria Munro

Local Democracy Reporter