After reviewing the feedback received, a follow-on consultation is being held:
We are fully committed to funding reconstructive surgery for women affected by breast cancer. This includes supporting up to three operations, in the 5 years after treatment, to the breast affected by cancer. We propose applying the existing policy of not funding cosmetic surgery to the unaffected breast.
This will bring the funding of breast surgery for patients who have had breast cancer in line with those patients who have not. For example, patients who have developed breasts with a significant size difference do not routinely qualify for surgery to correct the asymmetry.
This proposal will increase hospital capacity for diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, including reconstructive surgery to the affected breast. In doing so, we hope to shorten the time patients wait for treatment.
Although this is an existing policy, the proposal would amount to a change in the current practice, in terms of the local cancer clinical pathway*. Therefore we would like to hear your views.
*a systematic way of treating and managing diseases in the NHS. A clinical pathway outlines the way a patient should be cared for through the NHS system from first presentation, followed by testing and diagnosis and through to completion of treatment.