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A funding model for a psychological service to plastic and reconstructive surgery in UK practice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

A. Clarke, K.j. Lester, S.j. Withey, P.e.m. Butler

Original languageEnglish
Article numberN/A
Pages (from-to)708-713
Number of pages6
JournalBritish Journal of Plastic Surgery
Issue number5
Published1 Jul 2005

King's Authors


Appearance related distress in both clinical and general populations is associated with the increasing identification of surgery as a solution, leading to referrals for cosmetic surgery and pressure on NHS resources. Cosmetic surgery guidelines are designed to control this growing demand, but lack a sound evidence base. Where exceptions are provided on the basis of psychological need, this may recruit patients inappropriately into a surgical pathway, and creates a demand for psychological assessment which transfers the resource problem from one service to another.

The model described below evaluates the impact of a designated psychology service to a plastic surgery unit. Developing an operational framework for delivering cosmetic guidelines, which assesses patients using clearly defined and measurable outcomes, has significantly reduced numbers of patients proceeding to the NHS waiting list and provided a systematic audit process. The associated cost savings have provided a way of funding a psychologist within the plastic surgery service so that psychological assessment becomes routine, alternative methods of treatment are easily available and all patients have access to psychological input as part of the routine standard of care.

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