A Manchester-based doctor has condemned a postcode lottery which is leaving more and more patients waiting for treatment on painful varicose veins.
At one time, varicose vein treatment on the NHS was relatively common.
But Consultant Vascular Surgeon, Mr Dominic Dodd, said: “Whether you get NHS treatment, or not, is now a postcode lottery and in Manchester it is highly restricted.
“Patients are now leading the way and are self-referring to private clinics,” said Mr Dodd who is a consultant at the VeinCentre in central Manchester, as well as having a busy NHS practice.
The VeinCentre, in St John Street, offers Endovenous Laser Ablation (EVLA), a non-surgical procedure which allows patients to have their varicose veins treated within 90 minutes.
Mr Dodd said: “EVLA is now the leading solution for varicose veins. Surgery was the major option when I started my work 20 years ago, but EVLA is now seen as the standard.
“It does not require an anaesthetic and patients can walk in to a clinic and walk out again with their treatment completed within 90 minutes.”
He added: “Once your varicose veins begin giving you symptoms then they are a health issue and not just a lifestyle choice. That is the position that many of the patients that I treat find themselves in.”
EVLA has just been confirmed as the first choice of treatment under draft guidelines issued by NICE (the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence).
“But how ironic that this NICE recommended treatment is available at clinics such as ours but rarely available on the NHS”, pointed out Mr Dodd.
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NOTES TO EDITORS:
Dominic Dodd is a Consultant Vascular Surgeon. He undertook basic surgical training at the University Hospital of North Staffordshire in 1992. He subsequently trained in Manchester at both the University Hospital of South Manchester and Manchester Royal Infirmary and is now based at the Sheffield Vascular Institute.
He has a busy NHS and private practice dealing with both arterial and venous conditions in one of the largest specialist vascular centres in the UK. He is active in research and is a principal investigator in the CLASS trial comparing a range of treatments for varicose veins.
Dominic first started using VNUS and endovenous laser (EVLA) to treat varicose veins in 2004 and has now performed more than one thousand procedures. He has run training courses on endovenous laser treatment and been invited to lecture to doctors from throughout the UK and Europe.
Dominic has been on the specialist register of the GMC since 2002.