This week a discussion about whether or not people should pay to see their GP took place at the annual conference for the Royal College of Nursing in Liverpool. Although it was rejected, the debate highlights the NHS’s continued to struggle with funding; the government is continually trying to finding ways of cutting costs. Despite these cost cutting plans, we find that there has been an intense increase in the number of cosmetic procedures taking place with NHS funding. This has been highlighted in recent months by Z list celbrity Josie Cunningham who had breast enhancement surgery paid for by the NHS because of her “self-esteem issues.”
It has been calculated that over the past six years 7,939 procedures have been carried out on the NHS alone. How could such a staggering number of surgical procedures be allowed to take place when it is struggling so much with funding?
Jeremy Hunt, the current Health Secretary, recently expressed his strong opposition to cosmetic surgery being funded by the NHS saying that operations should be based on a ‘clinical need’. This has brought up a number of debates about what tax payers money should be permitted to cover within our NHS. Currently cosmetic surgery may be offered on the NHS via tax payers money to those who suffer from further health problems as a way of improving their state of being. For example procedures such as nose reshaping (rhinoplasty) can be performed on those who have breathing problems and tummy tucks to remove excess fat or skin for abdominal surgery.
The rise in the amount of surgery taking place for cosmetic reasons, however, can be blamed on reality television shows such as The Only Way Is Essex which follows those who have all, more or less, undergone the knife for the sake of vanity. Even the so called ‘selfie’ is said to couple with a fixation on celebrity culture and create unrealistic expectations of self image. As we are currently in a culture where the idea of the perfect self image is strenuously advertised in the media, a new generation of self-obsessed people is developing. These people are evidently resorting to means of cosmetic surgery in order to be accepted within this type of physical normality.
Along with this desperation to look ‘perfect’ comes a needless amount of pressure which in some cases can affect the state of a person’s mental health. Whilst there may be psychological reasons as to why a person feels the need to undergo cosmetic surgery it is appalling to see that the doctors are allowing people to proceed with such dangerous surgery for this sake of self appearance instead of offering or continuing counselling which, after all, is their job.
The NHS is by far one of the greatest achievements of the British and it is devastating to see that it is turning against its sole purpose. A growing amount of cosmetic procedures taking place on our NHS creates a further unnecessary strain to funds, funds which are purely meant to save lives. It is sickening to see our NHS being used as a benefactor to someone’s vanity which unnecessarily endangers a person’s life. Procedures via the NHS are meant for saving lives, not putting them at further risk.