Breast cancer survivors could soon be given the option to have both breasts reconstructed as standard after mastectomy surgery, a new survey reveals.
Launched by Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), the new health consultation will ask people for their views on breast cancer reconstruction, homeopathy and the provision of gluten free food.
The CCGs – which determine the services on offer at Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire hospitals – currently allow breast cancer survivors the option to have reconstructive surgery on the breast affected by the disease as standard.
Women are only given surgery on the unaffected breast – to ensure the pair look as similar as possible, or ‘balanced’ – on an informal basis as it is deemed a ‘cosmetic procedure’.
The CCGs are now asking local residents if reconstruction on the unaffected breast should be offered to women as standard practice.
It appears to be a complete u-turn for the authorities, which launched a consultation last autumn asking the public if women should be blocked from having reconstructive surgery on both breasts as standard.
The CCGs were criticised for unfairly targeting women as it ran a parallel consultation to decide whether it should limit IVF provision to women aged between 30 and 35.
Both consultations were rejected by the public who voted overwhelmingly to maintain the current IVF provision to women aged up to 40-years-old and to prevent tighter regulations around breast reconstruction.
“We believe these proposed policies reflect previous consultation exercises as well as further guidance from stakeholders, NHS England, the Department of Health and clinicians,” Dr Peter Brindle, Medical Director of Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire CCGs said.
“No decisions will be made until the consultation has ended and the results analysed.”
The survey will also ask residents if the CCGs should stop funding homeopathy and remove gluten free products on prescription to under 18s – with provision for GPs to offer a limited list of products to teenagers.
The consultation will launch at midday today (Monday, January 22) and run for 12 weeks. Visit the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Groups website to take part.
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