NHS plans to cut back on surgery for varicose veins

14th July 2018 by Daryll Baker0
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Surgery on varicose veins is poised to be cut back on the NHS as part of a drive to save millions of pounds each year by tightening treatment criteria.

Surgery for varicose veins, alongside breast reduction, haemorrhoids and carpel tunnel operations, will only take place when there is good reason to do so, it has been announced. The NHS is looking to encourage alternatives to surgery in cases that are less urgent, such as through changes to the diet, injections or physiotherapy. This will apply to the majority of cases, say the NHS.

Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director at NHS England, commented:

“If we want the very best clinical care for our patients, we need to stop putting them through treatment where risks and harms outweigh the benefits.

“By reducing unnecessary or risky procedures for some patients we can get better outcomes while reducing waste and targeting resource to where it is most needed,” Professor Powis added.

Varicose vein treatment

Asides surgery, there are a number of treatments for varicose veins. These treatments include:

  • Endovenous laser
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Varicose vein avulsions
  • Non-surgical treatment of varicose veins
  • Thread vein sclerotherapy
  • Thread vein skin laser
  • Leg ulcer management
  • Common venous investigations

Varicose vein surgery

Despite the NHS cutting down on the operations it makes to treat varicose veins in a bid to save money, surgery remains an effective way to treat this common condition.

Varicose vein surgery has been vastly improved over the decades and is now typically carried out as a day case with the patient only staying in hospital for several hours.

If you have any questions about the different types of treatment for varicose veins, get in touch with the Vascular Consultancy, experts in treating this vascular condition quickly, efficiently and effectively.


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Daryll Baker is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon at the Royal Free Hospital London and Clinical Lead for North Central Region Vascular Services.

He read Medicine at Oxford University and trained in Vascular Surgery in Nottingham, London and Edinburgh. He obtained his research PhD from the University of Wales.

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