Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent Integrated Care Board (ICB) is set to “harmonise” eligibility criteria for five procedures to ensure that they are the same across the ICB’s area.
The ICB reports that the changes are clinically-led and aim to deliver the best use of NHS resources. There will be an increased investment of around £70,000 to implement the changes.
The procedures are assisted conception; hearing loss in adults; male and female sterilisation; breast augmentation and reconstruction; and removal of excess skin following weight loss.
NHS commissioners have been reviewing the eligibility criteria since January 2020 in a programme called Clinical Policy Alignment (previously termed ‘Difficult Decisions’). The programme has seen engagement work undertaken with the public, patients, clinicians and other stakeholders, to shape proposals that will inform the future commissioning policies.
The proposals include commissioning hearing aids with no eligibility criteria; to develop an interim aligned assisted conception policy pending further national guidance; to routinely fund male and female sterilisation when individuals cannot tolerate other contraceptives or there is an “absolute clinical contraindication” to pregnancy; to routinely fund mastectomies carried out due to suspected or proven cancer; and no commissioning of abdominoplasty /apronectomy and body contouring.
The ICB will now develop plans for implementation of these policies.