EU: Taxpayers Paid for Boob Jobs, Health Spas, and Viagra

Came across this article on MailOnLine and it  struck a cord as there are similarities between this scenario and ‘cosmetic’ procedures in the NHS.

Nearly £3 million of taxpayer’s money will be spent by MEPs (Member of the European Parliament) on health care, including cosmetic surgery, and on drugs such as Viagra. 

Leaked documents have revealed that the European Parliament’s 736 members and their families can claim for breast surgery,  anti-ageing products and slimming treatments from a private health scheme which will allow for claiming of these expenses from the £2.9 million budget.

As there is often a very fine line between procedures done for purely cosmetic reasons and ones that are done for functional reasons, cosmetic procedures are often done in the NHS in the guise of functional problems. A good example is a breast uplift for someone who has only moderately enlarged breasts but complains of shoulder pain because of a droop.

Guidelines for ‘cosmetic procedures’ in the NHS, until recently have been relatively vague and open to interpretation such that millions of pounds of taxpayer’s money have been spent on people who have managed to slip through the hoop.

The only way to avoid this is to have a strict blanket rule that excludes all such procedures with no exceptions and it should be enforced nationwide and not just in certain Trusts. The savings would be significant from excluding these procedures, as well as the eliminating the manpower and paperwork involved in deciding on the validity of such requests which may include a  psychiatric assessment etc.

The imperative for such a rule is long overdue and especially so in this present economic climate when the whole structure of the NHS is under threat as a result of budget cuts.

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