It has been reported that thousands of patients with inguinal (groin) hernia problems are being left in pain or left at risk of needing emergency surgery because of NHS restrictions to treat them. “The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and British Hernia Society (BHS) have found that 57% if Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are denying patients quick access to the procedure”.
An inguinal hernia is the most common type of hernia and can appear as swelling or a lump in the groin area. It is when fatty tissue or part of the bowel (intestines) or other abdominal structures through a hole in the abdominal muscles. They commonly to occur in men.
It has been reported that patients at Kent and Medway Trust are “having to show their hernia has grown larger or become “incarcerated” to access operations”.
The Royal College of Surgeons and British Hernia Society have found that in order to be considered a candidate for surgery, some Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs):
- require patients to suffer form pain or discomfort which restrict them from carrying daily activities (in 52% of CCGs)
- require the hernia to have increased in size and/or a history of incarceration (in 5% of CCGs)
Only 24% had polices that were in line with the BHS and RCS clinical guidelines.
David Sanders, from BHS commented stating that patients were being denied access to a procedure that potentially limits pain and improves quality of life.
Dr Amanda Doyle, co- chair of the NHS Clinical Commissioners has commented that “in cases where there is a high risk of complications or where patients are in persistent pain as a result of groin hernias, most CCGs will commission surgery”…” on a daily basis they are forced to make difficult decisions that balance the needs of the individual against those of their entire local population”.
A limited service will inevitably put patients at risk of further complications of inguinal hernia strangulation (which is a medical emergency and if not treated can lead to death), if the safety of patients is not being prioritised.
It is concerning to note that in 2017, it was reported that vital operations and/or treatment relating to hip and knee replacements and cataract surgery were being rationed leaving patients in pain. One year later we have reports over restricting treatment over another medical condition. What will come next?
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