Why is Laser Eye Surgery not available on the NHS?
The National Health Service has long been the driving force behind the people of Britain.
After nearly 70 years since its launch, the NHS now deals with over 1 million people every 6 hours. It’s been the subject of much criticism and controversy over the years, but is still largely thought of as a national treasure, and to this day continues to fight for its core principle: making good healthcare available to all—regardless of wealth.
They are the health service of the people, and often reflect this in their policies like we’ve seen in their recent decision to impose a 20% tax on sugary foods and drinks in their hospitals and health centre cafes. Toward the end of last year they introduced yoga and Zumba classes for staff, and in the future we may even see yoga—if local GPs continue to advocate—being offered as a treatment to some patients.
You may be thinking that with such a progressive ethos the NHS may be soon offering Laser Eye Surgery as a vision correction treatment. The fact is, Laser Eye Surgery is already available on the NHS, but only for those who really need it.
Laser Eye Surgery on the NHS
The NHS remains free at the point of use for every UK resident. That is with the exception of some charges such as prescriptions and dental services, and more crucially for us, optical services.
Much like in many cases in the NHS, treatment for your eyesight is only available for conditions which without care could pose dire risks to your health. In this case, that means a severe loss of vision.
The decisions are made by local NHS bodies after considering the clinical effectiveness of a procedure and whether or not it represents value for money for the NHS. The verdict: Common conditions such as myopia, hyperopia, and astigmatism which can be treated with glasses or contacts do not qualify for treatment.
You may find some NHS trusts have their own Laser Eye Surgery clinics, but usually they come at a cost to the patient. Correcting refractive errors that impede your vision is not considered an essential treatment—which is of course true in terms of your physical health. But in terms of quality of life, many may feel very differently.
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Having Laser Eye Surgery is More Affordable Than You Think
Eye tests, treatment payments, hidden extras, aftercare services; the costs associated with Laser Eye Surgery can seem to quickly rack up. This is typically the case when consulting with high street providers or large chains, but it’s not the way we all like to do business.
Many independent clinics and private hospitals are completely transparent in their pricing. Ideally you will be presented with just one upfront cost which covers the whole treatment and omits the chances of any nasty little surprises; even better if the clinic offers interest free finance and extended aftercare following your surgery.
This is of course all before we get to the comparative costs of Laser Eye Surgery against other vision correction methods. Rather surprisingly, calculations made on the average cost of glasses reveal Laser Eye Surgery to be a more economical method of vision correction longer term.
Laser Eye Surgery may not be available for the masses on the NHS, but that doesn’t mean it’s out of reach. Weighing up the benefits of surgery against your current method of vision correction is a great place to get started and kick off your journey towards greater vision.
If you would like to book a consultation at London Vision Clinic, or find out more about our pricing, leave us a comment or give us a call us on 020 7224 1005.