BAPRAS calls for more psychological support for plastic surgery patients
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) today calls for greater provision for Plastic Surgery patients to access psychological support during or following reconstructive treatment.
In a survey of its members, BAPRAS found that Plastic Surgeons frequently see patients that require psychological support, and yet greater investment is needed to bring down waiting times and to ensure there is enough psychological provision, working with Plastic Surgery teams.
The survey was conducted amongst more than 100 full members of BAPRAS and showed that patients require support through the range of Plastic Surgery sub specialties – from breast cancer reconstruction, through to burns treatments and cleft surgery.
The vast majority of members surveyed, 93%, said that having access to specialist psychological assessment and treatment is important for their patient group, with two thirds (64%) seeing patients in need of psychological support every week.
More than a quarter of members surveyed (27%) feel that waiting times for patients to access psychological support are unacceptable. And three quarters (73%) feel more funding is needed to improve access to specialist psychological assessment and treatment for the group of patients they work with.
Nigel Mercer, Consultant Plastic Surgeon and President of BAPRAS, said: “Our survey shows that Reconstructive Plastic Surgeons believe timely access to psychological support is essential for their patients. The last Government prioritised talking therapies and we wish to raise awareness of the vital support psychological services provide to patients undergoing Reconstructive Plastic Surgery in the hope that these services will receive greater funding to help reduce significant distress to patients.”
Dr Jo Tedstone, Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Associate Fellow of the British Psychological Society (BPS), runs a psycho-oncology service at King’s Mill Hospital, Mansfield. The service ensures patients can access clinical psychology support. In addition, the team trains and supervises nursing staff to carry out assessment of psychological difficulties and provide basic psychological interventions.
She said: “Psychological support for physical health problems is often the part of healthcare provision which gets forgotten and has sporadic funding across the country. There is plenty of evidence that providing these services improves patients’ mood and quality of life as well as reducing overall healthcare costs. Illnesses that require reconstructive plastic surgery can have a huge impact on day to day life of the patient and their family. Many people need psychological support to rebuild their lives. However, at the moment simply not enough people get the help they need.”
BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.
Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK.