North East Connected

How Much Do Common Procedures Cost the NHS?

With worries of NHS privatisation on the horizon, it’s a hot topic in the media right now. Sky News stated 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? Butterfly needle supplier Fulcare explains how much these common procedures cost…

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]

Miscellaneous Operations Cost

Example: Amputation, external resuscitation, cognitive behavioural therapy, delivery of chemotherapy for neoplasm, etc.

Most common procedure: Procurement of drugs for chemotherapy for neoplasm in Bands 6-10.

Cost: Procurement of drugs for chemotherapy in Band 6–10 average cost — £543–£2,827.

Miscellaneous operations include a variety of procedures, such as drug therapy.

Other Bones and Joints Operations Cost

Example: Diagnostic puncture of bone, fusion of joint of toe, puncture of joint, etc.          

Most common:  Total prosthetic replacement of knee joint using cement.

Cost: Knee replacements cost the NHS around £6,500.

Around 90,412 cases are 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.

Diagnostic Testing & Rehabilitation Cost

Example: Diagnostic imaging, diagnostic tests on skin, rehabilitation for musculoskeletal disorders, rehabilitation for psychiatric disorders, etc.

Most common: Diagnostic imaging of central nervous system.

Cost: Complex CT scan — £137–£175.

The second-most common procedure covers scans and diagnostic testing, including the rehabilitation procedures in the aftermath.

Eye Operations Cost

Example: Correction of deformity of eyelid, extirpation of lesion of eyelid, operations on vitreous body, etc.

Most common: Prosthesis of lens.

Cost: A complex lens procedure can cost the NHS as much as £2,548.

Most eye procedures are 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.

Lower Digestive Tract Operations Cost

Example: Emergency excision of appendix, endoscopic extirpation of lesion of colon, destruction of haemorrhoid, etc.                                                                                

Most common: Diagnostic endoscopic examination of colon.

Cost: Combined Upper and Lower Gastrointestinal Tract Diagnostic Endoscopic Procedures – £1,387–£2,203.

Conditions and diseases in the digestive system are the number one primary diagnosis in 2017-2018. So, it’s not surprising that procedures involving the lower digestive tract ranked so highly.

Upper Digestive Tract Operations Cost

Example: Excision of oesophagus and stomach, artificial opening into the stomach, operations on ulcer of stomach, antireflux operations, etc.

Most common: Diagnostic fibreoptic endoscopic examination of upper gastrointestinal tract.

Cost: Diagnostic Endoscopic Examination of Upper Gastrointestinal Tract comes to around £426-£2,630, depending on the complexity.

Female Genital Tract Associated with Pregnancy, Childbirth, and Puerperium Cost

Example: Elective caesarean delivery, forceps cephalic delivery, routine obstetric scan, etc.

Most common: Normal delivery.

Cost: A normal delivery costs the NHS £1,985–£2,100.

Most 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 Cost

Example: Extracorporeal fragmentation of calculus of kidney, open drainage of bladder, operations on bladder, etc.

Most common: Urethral catheterisation of bladder.

Cost: Intermediate bladder procedures can cost the NHS around £1,616.

Again, the age group 70–74 makes up most of these procedure requirements.


Skin Operations Cost

Example: Phototherapy to skin, punch biopsy of skin, opening of skin, suture of skin of head or neck, etc.

Most common: Other excision of lesion of skin.

Cost: Minor skin procedures cost the NHS — £856–£3,192.

Skin procedures are most commonly needed by 70–74-year olds.


Soft Tissue Operations Cost

Example: Puncture of pleura, excision of ganglion, biopsy of muscle, operations on bursa, etc.

Most common: Primary repair of inguinal hernia.

Cost:  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.


NHS Digital, Hospital Admitted Patient Care and Adult Critical Care Activity 2017-18, Accessed July 2nd 2019 <>

NHS Digital, Hospital Admitted Patient Care Activity 2017-18: Procedures and Interventions, Accessed July 2nd 2019 <>

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