Following the events of Brexit, many are concerned about the future of the NHS. Whether our healthcare will fail or be privatized, it’s a hot topic in the media at the moment.

Sky News reported that there are one million patients treated by the NHS every 36 hours. That’s 89 million outpatients every year. But what procedures are we in need of, and how much do these cost the NHS? Fulcare, suppliers of butterfly needles explores…

Procedure Finished consultant episodes
Miscellaneous Operations 1,943,268
Diagnostic Testing & Rehabilitation 1,627,513
Lower Digestive Tract 1,133,210
Upper Digestive Tract 860,567
Other Bones and Joints 842,351
Eye 685,929
Female Genital Tract Associated with Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Puerperium 657,812
Urinary 646,784
Skin 445,107
Soft Tissue 414,289

[Data from NHS Digital, Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity 2017-18: Procedures and Interventions]

Diagnostic Testing & Rehabilitation

Procedures such as diagnostic imaging, diagnostic tests on the skin, rehabilitation for musculoskeletal disorders and rehabilitation for psychiatric disorders fall under this category.

Diagnostic imaging of the central nervous system is the most common procedure in this category, which can cost £137–£175. Of course, half the battle is figuring out what we’re up against. The second-most common procedure covers scans and diagnostic testing, including the rehabilitation procedures in the aftermath.

Lower Digestive Tract Operations

Emergency excision of the appendix, endoscopic extirpation of lesion of colon and destruction of hemorrhoids fall under this category.

Diagnostic endoscopic examination of colon is the most common procedure in this category, which can cost £1,387–£2,203. With diseases of the digestive system being the number one primary diagnosis in 2017-2018, it’s not surprising that procedures involving the lower digestive tract ranked so highly.

Upper Digestive Tract Operations

Procedures such as excision of esophagus and stomach, artificial opening into the stomach, operations on ulcer of stomach and antireflux operations fall under this category.

Diagnostic fiberoptic endoscopic examination of the upper gastrointestinal tract is the most common procedure in this category, which can cost £426-£2,630, depending on the complexity. As with lower digestive tract procedures, it makes sense that upper digestive tract procedures have followed closely behind.

Female Genital Tract Associated with Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Puerperium

Procedures such as elective caesarean delivery, forceps cephalic delivery, and routine obstetric scan fall under this category.

Normal delivery is the most common procedure in this category, which costs around £1,985–£2,100. The highest amount of procedures in this category were carried out on patients aged 30–34 — unsurprising, as ‘induction and delivery’ is one of the more common reasons.

Urinary Operations

Extracorporeal fragmentation of calculus of kidney, open drainage of bladder and operations on bladder fall under this category.

Urethral catheterization of bladder is the most common procedure in this category, costing £1,616. Again, the age group 70–74 makes up the majority of these procedural requirements.

Skin Operations

Phototherapy to the skin, punch biopsy of skin, the opening of skin and suture of the skin of head or neck fall under this category.

Another excision of lesion of skin is the most common procedure in this category, costing £856–£3,192. Skin procedures, again, are most commonly needed by 70–74-year olds.

Eye Operations

Procedures such as correction of deformity of an eyelid, extirpation of lesion of eyelid and operations on vitreous body fall under this category.

The prosthesis of a lens is the most common procedure in this category, a complex lens procedure can cost the NHS £2,548. Most eye procedures are carried out on 75-79-year olds, with most of these cases being to do with the anterior chamber of the eye and lens; prosthetic contact lenses for damaged eyes are the most common requirement.

Soft Tissue Operations

Puncture of pleura, excision of ganglion, a biopsy of muscle and operations on bursa fall under this category.

Primary repair of inguinal hernia is the most common procedure in this category. Repairing a hernia costs the NHS around £2,281. Again, with 42,602 cases accounted for by 70–74-year-olds, this age range is the most in-need of soft tissue procedures. This does seem to reflect the aging population of Britain, and with it, the increased pressure on NHS services.

Other Bones and Joints Operations

Procedures such as diagnostic puncture of bone, a fusion of joint of toe and puncture of joint fall under this category.                                                                                                                     

Total prosthetic replacement of knee joint using cement is the most common procedure in this category. Knee replacements cost the NHS around £6,500.

With 90,412 cases attributed to 70-74-year olds, it can be safely assumed the majority of these procedures are as a result of falls and injuries in older people, along with treatments for arthritis.

Miscellaneous Operations

Procedures such as amputation, external resuscitation, cognitive behavioral therapy and delivery of chemotherapy for neoplasm fall under this category.

Procurement of drugs for chemotherapy for neoplasm in Bands 6-10 is the most common procedure in this category, which can cost £543–£2,827. The top-most procedure category is also one of the broadest. Miscellaneous operations include a variety of procedures, such as amputation and drug therapy.