From BUPA to NHS?

I had mastectomy and immediate DIEP in March 08. BUPA covered the mastectomy and its investigations, and chemo/rads, but there was a substantial shortfall in their cover as they limited payment for reconstruction to what the cheapest kind (ie an implant) would have cost. My ex-husband pays for the family’s BUPA cover and he very kindly paid the balance of the surgeons’ fees himself.

I’ve had my one-year check up and mammo, there’s some fat necrosis in the recon breast with a bit of fluid making it lumpy, but I’ve been invited to make an appt with the plastic surgeon to discuss nipple recon and removal of dog ears from the DIEP scar. Things are strained between my ex and myself, for several reasons, and I believe he is no longer able, or willing, to pay any more fees in relation to my body - and of course there is no reason why he should, he doesn’t get to see it. However, I am not able to pay and I wondered if the NHS do nipple recon and tidying dog-ears. Would I be able to have them done on the NHS as all treatment has been private so far? Presumably it would have to be a different surgeon - can anyone tell me the protocol for changing just because I can’t pay the one that did the original work?

Hi Palamino98

I too have had all my treatment to date done privately, including delayed reconstruction and have had concerns about ongoing treatments should my situation change. I had spoken to the breast nurse and she had said that I would have all the same consultants but transfer to another hospital (across the road in my case). The only new people would be the breast care nurses. I believe the NHS do cover ‘tweaking’ after reconstruction. I would suggest you give your PS secretary a ring, tell her your situation and she maybe able to advise. Hope this helps. I’d be interested to hear how you get on.


I think changing horses, so to speak, is probably not uncommon. People with Bupa cover are losing jobs and cannot pay themselves so why not revert to the good old NHS. I was treated privately and know that in the NHS it would have been better, even the nursing director at my private hospital admitted their BC services were “non-existent” whereas I only said they were very poor.

I would go to print and explain a little and good luck with it.