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Adult snoring surgery (in the absence of obstructive sleep apnoea)

As part of the ongoing review of clinical policies for all the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) in Lancashire and South Cumbria and following the statutory guidance issued by NHS England around 17 procedures included in their Evidence Based Interventions (EBI) guidance, we are now seeking your feedback on four additional clinical policies. 

Please note: Chorley and South Ribble CCG and Greater Preston CCG already have this policy in place and therefore nothing will change to the current adult snoring surgery policy in these areas. To find out more about the policy in these two areas please contact the CCGs directly: Chorley and South Ribble CCG or Greater Preston CCG

The patient access criteria for these policies has already been through a public consultation and been made mandatory guidance to Clinical Commissioning Groups. We are not therefore, seeking feedback on the criteria as this cannot be changed. The engagement being undertaken is to inform you about the new policies and to give you the opportunity to comment on any adverse impact you feel this will have and what the CCG should do to minimise this.

The draft policy for adult snoring surgery (in the absence of obstructive sleep apnoea) can be found below.  You are invited to read the new clinical policy before giving your feedback. Your comments will be fed back to the CCG as part of the implementation process.

Futher down this page you will find some frequently asked questions which may answer any queries you have about the process or about this policy.

Your feedback should be submitted by Friday 1 February 2019.

Once you have read the new policy you can provide feedback through this online survey


If you have any further questions about this policy or the process being undertaken you can email or ring 01772 214244.

If you require any of these documents in an alternative format such as Braille, larger print, audio, British Sign Language or in a language other than English please contact the Customer Care Team in one of the following ways:

Further opportunities will be made available for your involvement and feedback on other clinical policies as and when they are developed and available for discussion.

Frequently asked questions

These frequently asked questions are supplementary to the FAQ’s already identified as part of the clinical policy review process.

What does this policy mean?

One of the possible treatments for snoring in adults involves surgery, by operations on the palate in the roof of the mouth. However, there is no clinical evidence that shows this is more effective than other, non-surgical treatments. This policy means that, throughout the NHS, surgery for this problem will not be routinely offered on the NHS. Other less harmful means of improving snoring are the only treatments that should be provided on a routine basis. The option for clinicians to submit an Individual Funding Request remains, should they feel a patient is an exception to this policy.

What treatments will be used instead of surgery to improve snoring?

There several alternatives to surgery that can improve the symptom of snoring.

These include:

• Weight loss

• Stopping smoking

• Reducing alcohol intake

• Medical treatment of nasal congestion (rhinitis)

• Mouth splints (to move the jaw forward when sleeping)

Why is the public engagement taking place now, just after the Christmas period?

NHS England has recently issued statutory guidance to NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups which requires them to have policies in place covering the treatments identified below, by April 2019. In order to meet this requirement and to ensure the policies are fit for purpose, public engagement needs to be undertaken in good time to accord with the official decision-making process.

NHS England has already undertaken a patient and public consultation on the criteria identified in these policies and there is not an opportunity, therefore, to change them further. Although NHS England is making the criteria for these treatments’ mandatory (as a minimum – CCGs can elect to go further), Clinical Commissioning Groups are still required to inform and involve patients and members of the public. A suitable period of public engagement needs to be undertaken, therefore, but it must allow CCGs to meet the obligations laid down by NHS England.

Public engagement will take place for a 3-week period, to be completed by the beginning of February (Friday 1 February).

Why are NHS England making these policies mandatory? Is this about saving money?

Both NHS England and the NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups are of the view that one of the main objectives of policies of this nature is to reduce avoidable harm to patients. With surgical procedures, there is always a risk of complications. In addition, professional staff time is wasted if unnecessary procedures are undertaken.

The staff time and resources saved by undertaking this procedure appropriately allows that time and resources to be used elsewhere within the local NHS. Any savings generated in this respect, therefore, are ploughed back into the service where it is needed. Inappropriate care is also poor value for money for the taxpayers who make the NHS possible.

Having consistent treatments decisions based on the latest evidence also helps health professionals keep up to date without removing their clinical discretion which forms part of their professional duties. At a time when demand far outweighs capacity, these decisions reflect the national and local priority of using resources effectively.

What will this mean to patients?

The policies being introduced guide the decisions made by CCGs about the procedures that will be made available to patients for these conditions. This is in both what the CCG will commission and in what Providers of services will be asked and paid to deliver. This has a direct impact upon which of these procedures patients and the public can expect to receive from their local NHS services.

Although some patients may no longer be eligible for these procedures, this is because the nonsurgical alternatives are safer, effective means of treating these conditions. Where a procedure is no longer routinely available on the NHS (as is the case with one of the policies/procedures below), patients can still have access to them if their GP/consultant believes they are an exception and will benefit from receiving it. This is called submitting an Individual Funding Request (IFR) and this option is always open to clinicians.

An individual funding request can be made by your clinician (GP or other health professional) if they believe that a particular treatment or service that is not routinely offered by the NHS is the best treatment for you, given your individual clinical circumstances.

When will these policies be adopted by the CCGs?

As part of the drive for introducing these policies at this time is the mandatory guidance from NHS England, the policies need to be in place for 1 April 2019. Public engagement will take place over a 3-week period following which the responses provided will be assessed. However, as this is mandatory, no change will be made the policy criteria. The policy will then need to be considered by the Commissioning Policy Development and Implementation Working Group, which is overseeing the policy review process, before final consideration by the Joint Committee of Clinical Commissioning Groups, which ratifies polices on behalf of all 8 CCGs.

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