Anyone who develops varicose veins may find it difficult to get treatment on the NHS. The service has other priorities and its own website clearly underlines a reluctance to get involved in most cases.
For some patients, the condition may be purely cosmetic and the NHS would rarely offer treatment under these circumstances. Even when there is discomfort, it’s common for a GP to recommend up to six months of home care before any action is taken.
It’s therefore clear that when varicose veins have been diagnosed, the patient has two choices: Either they wait for nature and the NHS to take their course or, they can look into private treatment for the condition. The obvious question that leads on from this conversation is how much will it actually cost?
As potential patients might expect, there is no such thing as a definitive answer to this question. The costs involved will depend on a number of factors including the severity of the condition and, of course, there are different practises with their own differing fees.
It’s also important to understand that there are a number of ways in which to treat varicose veins and while the leyman may believe that invasive procedures such as surgery are the only options, this simply isn’t the case.
So, from here, it is possible to offer some general figures as to what patients can expect to pay and we will also underline some options in terms of treatment.
As with most conditions, the first phase of treatment at a private varicose veins clinic involves a consultation. This is where the nature and severity of the problem is assessed and the consultant will then prescribe the best course of treatment.
The best varicose veins practises will include an ultrasound scan as part of the consultation service and patients can expect to pay in the region of £230.00. The next phase will, naturally, depend on the results of the consultation and of that scan. If treatment is required, surgery is by no means the obvious next point in the process and thanks to the use of lasers, a far more painless and comfortable method is in practise.
In the majority of private practices, EVT is considered to be the preferred method of treating varicose veins and it’s way ahead of surgery in the pecking order. To give it its full name, endovenous laser ablation therapy employs lasers and while it also harnesses ultrasound and catheters, it is considered to be the most comfortable treatment available.
There are distinct advantages when it comes to treating varicose veins with EVT. Firstly, the whole procedure should take no longer than one hour. Only a small incision is required to carry it out and patients can return to their normal activities almost immediately. That’s the prognosis but what’s the cost?
For treatment on one leg only, the cost for EVT is likely to be between £2200 and £3000 depending on clinic and location. Local anaesthetic is provided but if patients want the general alternative, a fee of £200 is likely to be added.
If treatment on both legs is required, those costs can rise to between £3500 and £3700. Once again, the potential to add general anaesthetic is available and this will add some £200 to the overall charge. Those are the numbers for the times when treatment is required but it doesn’t necessarily mean that the patient has to meet the bill.
The Good News
There may be some considerable financial outlay when it comes to treating varicose veins privately but this has to be weighed up against the alternative. For those looking to the NHS, there is a perceived reluctance on behalf of the service to act and unless the situation is classed as an emergency, there is that six month waiting period before treatment can begin.
Private treatment of varicose veins is also set to be covered by healthcare plans and all of the major insurers, including AXA, BUPA, Pru Health and Aviva will pick the condition up. Naturally, all regular terms and conditions will apply and if varicose veins is a pre-existing issue on sign up, it’s more likely that it will be excluded.
Photo: Matthew LeJune