Hair Transplants On The NHS
Will the NHS Fund My Hair Transplant?
A commonly asked question is whether one can have a hair transplant funded by the NHS in the UK. Unfortunately, the answer to this question is generally no. The NHS will not fund any cosmetic operation for reasons of vanity or aesthetics alone. Their governing body, known as NICE, use strict criteria in order to determine whether a procedure can be funded and this is based on a cost vs. benefit model. In other words, they will look at the costs to the government versus the psychological benefits to the patient. In most cases they will feel that funding is better spent on life saving operations than cosmetic procedures.
The Reasons Why They Won't Fund Hair Transplants
Hair loss is a common and normal part of life. It is not considered to be an illness at all. Even distressing conditions such as alopecia areata are not considered a good enough reason for the NHS to fund a hair transplant. There are other ways that people who wish to change their appearance can do so. For example, they could buy a wig or try hair renewal products such as Regaine.
Hair transplants also use very expensive equipment and are carried out by specialist surgeons and the NHS simply don't have the funding to be able to offer the treatment to everyone.
In no circumstance will male pattern baldness be seen as a reason for the NHS to fund a hair transplant.
The NHS will, however, fund eyebrow transplants if someone has lost their eyebrows due to burns, cancer or other serious trauma. Even then, each individual will be judged on a case by case basis.
Can the NHS Offer Any Other Help?
Your GP should be able to advise on which private clinic or surgeon to visit and may even be able to refer you. This would normally be someone who has a good relationship with their local NHS Trust who might also offer other procedures which are funded by the NHS. In cases like this, it will be a combined effort by your GP and the clinic to get their patient on track for hair transplant surgery but the surgery will need to be funded solely by the patient.
Your GP will also be able to give you advice or see you if you have any aftercare issues. Perhaps you will need pain medication or antibiotic creams, but these are generally dispensed by the clinic as part of the aftercare package that most provide.