I’ve been rejected four times for a breast reduction because NHS says my 32GG boobs are ‘too small’ – I’m in agony
A WOMAN with 32GG breasts claims she has been rejected for a reduction by the NHS four times as they are “too small”.
Helen Drake, 46, from Witham, says she has been struggling on a daily basis due to the size and weight of her breasts on her small frame.
Helen claims her large bra size has had a significant impact on her health and well-being and that she has “hit a wall with being able to cope with it all.”
The mum-of-two says she has had an array of musculoskeletal, abdominal, and chronic inflammatory problems and conditions over the years, claiming she has suffered a hiatus hernia, asthma, fibromyalgia, and bone tissue condition osteopenia.
She believes these are all related to the discomfort caused by her breasts.
Helen said: “They have always given me that backache and poor posture because they pull me down with their weight, but also if I stand up straight I feel like I’m poking them out at people so I tend to stand hunched over, which causes even more pain and discomfort.
“That’s sort of my adult life really,”
She first requested a mammoplasty – the surgery to remove fat, breast tissue and skin from the breast in order to reduce their size – in 2013.
She claims her GP at the time told her that she needed to try other alternatives first and she was referred to physiotherapy instead.
Helen made another request for a breast reduction in 2016 and claims she was told by a doctor she could have been able to do the procedure on the NHS three years previously but the rules and requirements had been changed.
Her third try for a reduction was made in 2019 as she was getting fed up with the back pain and claims the doctor “didn’t even give her time of day for the request”.
The determined mother made a fourth attempt through her GP earlier this year.
Although she claims the doctor agreed to refer her, she says he told her he was almost certain the referral would be declined as he had never heard of someone being accepted on the NHS since he started in 2003.
Helen decided to create a GoFundMe fundraising page in September hoping to raise money to have the procedure carried out privately.
She attended a private consultation in October and was allegedly told there was “absolutely no way” she would get the procedure via the NHS as soon as the doctor examined her. She has also been advised to see a therapist because of the “dramatic” desired size reduction of going down to a B-C cup size from her current GG size.
After spending thousands of pounds on bras, she says she has had issues with her wearing suitable support since she was a teenager in the 90s.
Now, she wears post-surgery bras to accommodate her size, but claims she has visible dents in her shoulders from her skin and muscle being pushed to the sides due to tight bra straps.
Helen does osteopathy once a month and has a range of back and spinal support equipment to cope with constant back pain, laying on the hard wooden floor at least three times a day and using the tools to click her back into position.
Despite the struggle she’s faced, Helen insists that she will get “instant relief” if she gets surgery and will be able to move more freely and buy clothes anywhere that would fit her size 10 frame as she says she currently “can’t trust that it will fit over the boobs.”
She said: “It will be amazing to be able to buy clothes that would fit easily. I don’t want to have my cleavage on show, so I have to have a really big top and everything’s got to be covered.”
Dr Ronan Fenton, Medical Director for the Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System said: “At present, breast reduction surgery may not be routinely provided on the NHS unless there is significant clinical need to do so.
“However, we are currently looking to align our policies to ensure equal access to certain healthcare services in mid and south Essex, including breast reduction, and we welcome all residents to share their views when we launch our public consultation in the coming weeks.”
Helen has set a goal of £4000 on her fundraising page after being told the procedure could cost around £6,500 or more.