The number of patients paying to have varicose veins treated privately has significantly increased due to NHS rationing, it has been claimed.
Cosmetic surgery provider Transform said that in one year the number of patient inquiries had jumped by 55 per cent.
The increase, noted between February and August 2011 and the same period in 2012, has been attributed to rationing on the NHS.
Some health bodies have refused to treat varicose veins – swollen and enlarged veins – unless the patients meet certain criteria.
Transform chief operating officer Pat Dunion said: “It is no coincidence we’ve seen a very large increase in inquiries for varicose vein treatments at Transform.”
A Department of Health spokeswoman said: “Restricting access to services on the basis of cost alone is wrong and compromises patient care. Decisions on treatments should be made by clinical experts taking the needs of each patient into account. We have already written to the NHS to set out clearly that access should not be restricted on the basis of cost.”