Boob Job NHS: When Is It Available for Free

If you’re thinking about getting breast augmentation surgery, you might wonder if it is covered by the National Health Service (NHS). Unfortunately, boob job NHS is often not available because of financial strain on this publicly-funded healthcare service. 

There was also a crackdown on boob jobs, in particular, in 2014. This was following the case of Josie Cunningham, who got implants on NHS, claiming she suffered bullying for being flat-chested for years. However, it’s still possible to get a breast augmentation in some cases.

Can You Get A Boob Job on the NHS? 

The NHS has made it clear that “usually” breast augmentation is not covered by it. However, it is possible to get in the following cases:

  • Absence of breast tissue (amastia) 
  • Breast asymmetry (affecting one or both the breasts) 
  • Removal of breast tissue in a mastectomy
  • Extreme psychological distress 
  • Reconstructing breast tissue damaged due to trauma, disease, or birth condition

If you’re thinking of getting this surgery through the NHS, you should further discuss this with the GP in your area, as the rules may vary. In reconstruction surgery, implants aren’t always used; sometimes, tissue is taken from the body of the patient. Other than the surgery itself, no breast enlargement pills are available on the NHS either. According to Mayo Clinic, such supplements are likely not going to work and “might have side effects.” 

Keep in mind that even though you can request funding for the surgery, it is quite difficult to get it approved. In addition, the wait time may be more than a year. Before that happens, your surgeon will assess you. In addition, you may be referred to a psychiatrist for further assessment to qualify for a boob job NHS. 

Why Is Boob Job Not Available on the NHS? 

Because of the budget cuts, cosmetic surgeries are not available on the NHS (with a few exceptions). It’s also not a life-threatening problem. Cosmetic surgeries, in general, also got a lot of bad press after the case of Josie Cunningham

The aspiring model had a boob job on the NHS, increasing her cup size from 32A to 36DD. The surgery cost £5,000 and enraged the taxpayers, especially when, 5 months later, Josie announced that she wanted to get smaller implants on the NHS again. That would have cost an additional £1,600. 

Jeremy Hunt, the then Heath secretary, cracked down in 2014 on cosmetic surgeries like nose jobs, tummy tucks, and breast augmentations. According to him, any “purely cosmetic work” shouldn’t be available on the NHS since there was no clinical need for it. 

Revision surgery can only be considered if the original augmentation surgery was also performed on the NHS. Implant failures are handled on the basis of clinical need and policy regarding augmentation surgery. 

How To Get A Boob Job On the NHS? 

Currently, it is up to the Clinical Commission Groups (CCGs) to decide whether or not surgery is going to be funded by the NHS. You may have to go through the following process for a boob job NHS: 

  • Get an assessment by your GP and a psychiatrist. 
  • Submit an Individual Funding Request (IFR) to the CCG in your area. The IFR is submitted by your GP on your behalf. 
  • Approval only comes in the case of an exceptional health need and if the CCG supports it. 

When deciding whether an application is going to be approved, the CCG takes the physical health, BMI, age (breast development usually takes place till a person is 18 years old), and lifestyle of the patient into consideration. 

Keep in mind that it is quite likely that your funding request is not going to be approved. Boob job is not considered a high-priority procedure. In this context, exceptional clinical circumstances mean that the patient’s “clinical circumstances” are unique, compared to the rest of the “patient population” that has a similar condition and is at the same stage of progression. 

Does NHS Help With the Process of Getting A Boob Job Privately? 

Although boob job NHS is not available, the institute still provides guidance to patients so that they can find the right surgeon and clinic for themselves. For one, NHS advises patients to check that the medical facility is registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), a public body funded by the Department of Health and Social Care. 

In addition, they ask you to check whether the surgeon is GMC-registered. They also provide a list of questions that you should ask your surgeon. It is possible for you to get referred to a private surgeon by your NHS GP, although you may be charged extra for that

Another way in which the NHS ensures patient care and safety after they’ve gotten the implants (even if privately) is that they record the details in their Breast and Cosmetic Implant Registry (BCIR). It was set up by the NHS digital in October 2016 in collaboration with other health departments. 

The information that’s recorded includes:

  • Your contact 
  • The type of implants you have
  • The implant manufacturer 
  • The facility where the surgery was carried out 
  • The surgeon who did the surgery

These details are not shared with any third party and are taken after your consent. Through this registry, it is easier to track a patient who had an implant. This helps if it is recalled in the future or may affect the patient’s health in any way. 

Does NHS Help If Anything Goes Wrong With the Boob Job?

If your breast surgery results in life-threatening complications or you end up needing emergency care, in that case, help will be available on the NHS. However, if you are not satisfied with the results of the surgery or need revision, you will have to get in touch with the doctor who performed the surgery. Also, if you feel like you’re not recovering normally or are experiencing some side effects, you should get in touch with them as soon as possible. 

Here, it is important that you find a clinic that offers a comprehensive aftercare plan, even if you’re getting the surgery in another country. In addition, you need to be clear on the total cost of the medical plan and whether or not aftercare is a part of it. You might need additional breast surgeries in the future if you give birth or experience weight gain, so keep that in mind. 

On its end, in case the surgery goes wrong, the NHS advises that the patient should get in touch with the GMC or CQC to lodge a complaint. If the problem is with the implants, they can be reported via the Yellow Card Scheme. 

Is A Private Clinic Better than Boob Job NHS? 

Since it’s hard to get a boob job NHS, many people consider getting this surgery in a private clinic. One of the biggest advantages of this is that there is no wait time. With the NHS, in some cases, it can be more than a few years, that is if you have successfully gotten the funding. 

According to the NHS, boob job can cost anywhere between £3,500 to £8,000. However, this excludes the cost of any consultation (before or after the surgery). Due to this reason, many people choose to travel to another country for this surgery. Turkey is popular among the citizens of the UK and Europe because of its proximity, economy and low cost of living. 

Are There Any Other Cosmetic Surgeries Available On the NHS? 

There are some surgeries available on the NHS that are usually considered “cosmetic.” However, on NHS, they’re rarely available for cosmetic reasons alone. If they’re causing health problems, you can avail them more easily. 

A rhinoplasty or nose job is available if you’re having difficulty breathing. Similarly, an otoplasty or ear correction surgery is also available for both children and adults. This is because prominent ears can cause extreme psychological distress. 

Also, because extremely large breasts can cause different health problems and pain, breast reduction is also available. Males who have a condition known as gynecomastia can also avail of this surgery on NHS. However, if the surgery that you’re getting is non-urgent, you may have to wait for a very long time. 


Although boob job NHS is available on paper, it is usually not possible. You may be able to get the surgery if you have significant breast asymmetry or no breast tissue and it’s causing you psychological distress. It is also available if it’s for reconstructive purposes after you suffered from an injury or illness or had the tissue removed following a mastectomy. Even then, the wait time can be quite long. 

There was a clampdown on boob job NHS in 2014 after some cases. However, that’s not the only reason why cosmetic surgery isn’t available on NHS. Since funding is a huge problem, the NHS prioritizes allocating funds to those treatments that are life-saving or medically necessary. That is why people have to look towards private clinics to get this surgery.

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