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NHS’ ‘slapdash’ cost-cutting leaving thousands without vital treatment

Exclusive: NHS England cut its funding for pectus surgery in 2019

Sunday 19 February 2023 16:18 GMT
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Pectus excavatum describes an inward deviation of the sternum, potentially affecting the function of the heart and lungs
Pectus excavatum describes an inward deviation of the sternum, potentially affecting the function of the heart and lungs (Getty/iStock)

Thousands of children and adults are being forced to live with a debilitating condition after the NHS cut funding for its treatment, The Independent can reveal.

Leading surgeons have voiced their concerns that an estimated 3,000 children and adults in England living with the rare congenital condition pectus are missing out on life-changing surgery following “slapdash” cuts to the service.

The condition involves a deviation of the chest bone – or sternum – meaning that it either grows inwards towards the spine, leaving a scooped-out appearance in the chest (pectus excavatum), or grows outwards (pectus carinatum). In the most extreme cases of pectus excavatum, heart and lung function can be affected, causing breathlessness, fainting, and even crushed heart valves.

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