Josie Cunningham, 22, said being a 32A, left, was ruining her life, but now she is a 36DD,right, she is happy
Glamorous career ahead: Miss Cunningham hopes to follow in the footsteps of her idol, Katie Price
An aspiring glamour model had her breasts enlarged to size 36DD on the NHS, it emerged yesterday.
The surgery to 22-year-old Josie Cunningham, cost taxpayers £4,800.
She convinced doctors to operate by claiming her flat chest was ‘ruining her life’ and causing emotional distress.
But last night critics were appalled at the decision, branding it a waste of taxpayers’ cash. Under NHS guidelines, cosmetic surgery should be funded only in rare circumstances ‘to protect a person’s health’.
Miss Cunningham, who works in telesales, says her new breasts have given her the ‘confidence’ she needs to pursue her dream of topless modelling.
She hopes to emulate former Page 3 girl Katie Price.
The unmarried mother, from Leeds, plans to leave her children Harley, five, and Frankie, two, with her parents while she chases her dream.
She told The Sun: ‘My new boobs have changed my life. Now I can’t wait to do topless and swimsuit photoshoots and become the new Katie Price.’
Her operation, at St James’s Hospital in Leeds, was recommended by her GP before being approved by her local Primary Care Trust.
But health bosses were unable to say yesterday why such an enormous cleavage was necessary for Miss Cunningham’s wellbeing.
Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers’ Alliance said: ‘This is an outrageous waste of NHS money and taxpayers will be appalled that they are having to foot the bill.
'People expect scarce NHS resources to be used to help people with serious medical needs, not to subsidise anyone who fancies a career as a glamour model.’
It is understood Miss Cunningham, previously a 32A, went to her GP with a ‘congenital medical condition’ which left her with no breast tissue.
She said she ‘lived in terror’ of being seen in a bikini and did not feel comfortable venturing out without a padded bra.
'I was never depressed about my flat chest,’ Miss Cunningham admitted. ‘I just got emotional when I was explaining to my GP that I felt I couldn’t live a full life the way I was – and he agreed to refer me.
'They gave me a top surgeon. He said he’d have to give me 36DD implants just to achieve the appearance of a 36C, because there was literally nothing there in the first place.’
The NHS usually pays for cosmetic surgery only when it is considered necessary for health reasons. For instance it will fund breast reduction if the weight of a woman’s breasts are causing her back problems.
However, the criteria for breast enhancement are decided by each local health trust, with no national guidelines available.
In Leeds, it can be granted if the woman suffers from developmental failure, or if she has had a mastectomy or lumpectomy.
It can also be granted for women with asymmetric breasts. However, it is unclear whether there is a limit on how big the implants should be.
NHS Airedale, Bradford and Leeds said it could not comment on individual cases but added: ‘We would like to clarify that cosmetic surgery is not routinely funded by the NHS.’
The decision in Miss Cunningham’s case would have been made by a panel including clinicians, it said.
The Department of Health said: ‘It is up to the local NHS to decide what treatments to provide but any NHS treatment needs to be clinically justified.’
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