Hair removal funded by the NHS?
Hair removal funded
by the NHS?
The effect that excess hair can have on your You should research your local NHS funding
self-esteem and how you view yourself as policies and be prepared to be your own
a woman can be extreme. Unfortunately, champion. ‘The policies do seem to vary in
for those of us who suffer with this symptom different geographical regions, and can vary
according to the time of year and budget
of PCOS, it can be expensive to treat – both
availability: the PCTs have to prioritise funds
in terms of the cost of treatment and the across all medical problems, and unfortunately
amount of treatment required. excess hair does not always get priority over
You may or may not be aware that treatment the need to fund other treatments for, say,
for excess hair removal is available on the NHS, cancer or heart disease,’ comments Dr Layton.
although it is not always easily obtainable and If you are successful in getting NHS-funded
therefore not as common as perhaps it should hair removal, you should be prepared (both
be. Unfortunately, many Primary Care Trusts financially and emotionally) that it will most
(PCTs) regard both laser hair removal and likely not solve your excess hair problems
electrolysis as cosmetic treatment, and if they completely. Generally, funded treatment is
do fund treatment, all too often it comes down nowhere near long enough to eradicate
to the ‘postcode lottery’ – what your local PCT’s hair from a particular area, let alone multiple
policy is and the budget they have. areas that women with PCOS can battle with.
Dr Alison Layton, Consultant Dermatologist and Anita Philpott from Electrolysis Help says,
Director of PCOS UK, comments, ‘Some PCTs ‘When it comes to funding, it has to be much
will commission hair removal treatment if there is more long-term than the NHS is prepared to
a treatable medical problem, the patient has failed agree to – and it has to be more accessible.
in other treatment modalities and/or the hair The person who determines how much
is causing significant psychological problems.’ treatment a patient needs has to be someone PCOS poll
In most instances, the path to having NHS-funded who treats the hair, not a doctor.’ How do you treat excess hair?
hair removal will not be easy. It is likely that you will Part of arming yourself with information to
be encouraged to try other (cheaper) treatments take to your GP could be a letter of support
first, such as the contraceptive pill Dianette from a qualified and registered electrolysist Electrolysis 2.43%
or prescription hair removal cream, Vaniqa. or laser therapist. Clinics like Electrolysis Help Epilator 2.68%
These treatments can help to reduce hair and Cristianos Laser Clinic often write letters
growth, meaning you may need fewer Laser 6.08%
of support for both existing and prospective
sessions of electrolysis or laser hair removal. clients. Such letters detail the extent of the Medication 0.49%
When attempting to obtain NHS-funded hair problem and the amount of treatment Plucking 18.00%
treatment, your first port of call – armed with required over a specified time period.
your research and, where possible, case histories Cristianos Laser Clinic also has a PCOS/
– will be your GP, and whether or not you get Threading 1.46%
Laser Hair Removal information pack for
funded may depend on how willing your GP is GPs to help arm patients. Chris Hart from Waxing 13.38%
to go in to bat for you. Cristianos explains: ‘Prospective clients attend Combination of above 24.58%
Dr Layton says that while not all PCTs have a a free consultation, where they are assessed
for suitability of treatment. A personalised I gave up 4.38%
treatment policy for excess hair removal, they
do have an appeals procedure, so that doctors pack and covering letter are sent to the client’s
can make a case on behalf of their patients. In GP at no cost to the client. In our experience,
some cases, you may need to undergo evaluation once the GP is armed with the information, a
to see just how much you are affected by your request from the patient to seek funding from
excess hair. their PCT is rarely refused. Success then depends
In the UK, some dermatology departments have
on the individual case and the attitude of the Part of arming yourself
clinics that provide laser hair removal and/or
It may be a long battle to get funded treatment,
with information to take to
electrolysis. It is important to note that if you are
successful in getting funded treatment, not all but with perseverance, determination and lots your GP could be a letter
PCTs offer laser hair removal or electrolysis –
some offer one over the other while others offer
of information to support you, it is a battle you
have a good shot at winning.
of support from a qualified
neither. You should be aware of the treatments and registered electrolysist
that are available in your area.
or laser therapist.
In Touch Autumn/Winter 2008 9