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Managers continue cost-saving drive with restrictions on incontinence surgery

NHS managers are continuing to restrict surgical procedures to save cash, with one trust announcing a blanket delay of three months for all women due to have surgery for incontinence.

Last month, a Pulse investigation covering 41 PCTs found that two-thirds had added new procedures to ‘low clinical priority' lists since April. Since then new restrictions have been published, including a new set of restrictions on hospital treatments by NHS Suffolk.

The list adds five new restrictions to their ‘low priority procedure' list, including a requirement for female patients with urinary incontinence to only have surgery funded if the patient has undergone three months of pelvic floor muscle training with a physiotherapist.

Among the other treatments added by NHS Suffolk to the ‘low priority' list are hip and knee replacement revision, hernia operations and cholecystecomy for asymptomatic gallstones.

NHS Suffolk has also had to reconsider its position of excluding patients from accessing the treatment for skin lesions. Hospital care for skin lesions moves from a ‘partially excluded' treatment – i.e. one not routinely commissioned - to a ‘low clinical priority' treatment.

Board minutes from NHS Suffolk state that the plans ‘were developed through due process involving wide consultation.'

The NHS Suffolk policy paper states: ‘Originally the [benign skin lesions] policy was developed as a partially excluded policy. However due to increasing number of individual funding requests for secondary care management of benign skin lesions was developed into a threshold policy.'

Have any treatments been added to 'low priority procedure' lists in your area? Let us know by emailing 


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