This is a summary of the NHS Devon CCG commissioning policy for Tonsillectomy.

Tonsillectomy commissioning policy

Supporting referral guideline

Out of scope

Head and Neck cancer services are commissioned by NHS England as part of specialist cancer services; treatment of malignancy is therefore out of scope of this policy.


Referral Criteria

Tonsillectomy will only be routinely commissioned in adults and children in Devon in the following circumstances:

  • Peritonsillar abscess (Quinsy)
  • Tonsillar enlargement causing or contributing to acute upper airways obstruction
  • Recurrent acute sore throat due to tonsillitis with the following criteria:
    The following documented evidence applies:
    • 7 or more episodes of tonsillitis in the last year; or
    • 5 or more such episodes per year in the preceding two years; or
    • 3 or more such episodes per year in the preceding three years;
    • There has been significant impact on quality of life indicated by documented evidence of symptoms that act as a barrier to employment or education or carrying out carer activities; or
    • Failure to thrive

Tonsillectomy/adenotonsillectomy will be funded in children under 16 where obstruction of the airway results in obstructive sleep apnoea syndrome, and the following apply:

  • A significant impact on development, behaviour and/or quality of life demonstrated by supporting evidence such as growth charts, letters from GPs; or
  • A strong clinical history (± sleep studies) suggestive of sleep apnoea

Tonsillectomy is not routinely commissioned solely for the management of snoring.

Tonsillectomy is not routinely commissioned for the treatment of tonsilloliths (tonsil stones).

Click on the link for the complete Tonsillectomy Commissioning Policy

Referral Instructions

Where the circumstances of treatment for an individual patient do not meet the criteria described above exceptional funding can be sought. Individual cases will be reviewed by the appropriate panel of the CCG upon receipt of a completed application from the patient's GP, consultant or clinician. Applications cannot be considered from patients personally.

Applications for consideration for funding approval should be sent to:


Alternatively, please send to: The Panel administrator at Bridge House, Collett Way, Newton Abbot, TQ12 4PH

Publication date: 30 October 2016


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