Proposals Made to Ensure Cosmetic Surgery is Done by Trained Specialist Surgeons
Interested in having cosmetic surgery, but worried you don’t know enough about your surgeon, or whether they are trained up for that particular procedure? Well, you may need to worry no more following new proposals which have been made by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).
Patients having cosmetic surgery should have access to clear information about their surgeon and be able to make informed decisions about their treatment, according to the new proposals from the RCS. The London organisation also wants a new system in place to certify specialist surgeons for each procedure.
The Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC), which was set up by the RCS in 2013, has made the proposals to improve standards of patient care in cosmetic surgery procedures. The proposals include patients being able to check if their surgeon is listed on an approved register. The organisation plans for surgeons to be certified to undertake cosmetic surgery only on the areas of the body relating to the speciality they are trained in. The RCS is also reported saying doctors should be prevented from performing cosmetic surgery outside their speciality, such as GPs doing nose jobs for patients, for instance, which current rules allow.
Stephen Cannon, chair of the CSIC and vice president of the RCS, said: “We are determined to ensure there are the same rigorous standards for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery in the UK as other types of surgery.
“This consultation provides the next step in establishing clear and high standards for training and practice so that all surgeons in the UK are certified to the same level, irrespective of where they trained. We want patients, surgeons and providers of cosmetic surgery to respond to this consultation and give us their views so we can develop these new standards,” Cannon said.
The consultation will be open until Friday 6 March 2015.
“Improved” Surgery Safety for Patients
Nigel Mercer, president of the British Association of Plastic Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) said the association “wholeheartedly” welcomed the proposals, which “will go a long way” in improving patient safety.
“We are delighted to see that all surgeons working in cosmetic surgery will have to be not only listed on the GMC’s specialist register, but also only allowed to operate within that area of training,” he said. “We are very pleased to see that the surgeon must prove they are adequately trained in the procedures they wish to perform and on the insistence on individual surgeon’s outcome data, both of which make choosing a surgeon a safer decision for patients to make.
“This tightening of existing regulations will go a long way to help prospective patients and employing clinics recognise high quality surgical expertise, leading to improved patient safety,” Mercer said.
Cosmetic Surgery in the Private Sector
The RCS said the vast majority of cosmetic surgery takes place in the private sector. Currently, a surgeon must be registered and licensed by the General Medical Council (GMC) to undertake such procedures. However, there is no common qualification available for those performing cosmetic surgery because it covers a number of surgical areas.
The RCS proposes that patients considering paying for cosmetic surgery privately – where they choose to have an operation for aesthetic, rather than medical reasons – should have access to clear, unbiased and credible information about their surgeon, care provider, procedure and likely outcomes.
Under the plans, surgeons working in the private sector will also have to prove they meet new standards of training to be certified and included on a register. This will be publicly available to employers and patients so they can make informed decisions. The RCS said to obtain certification, surgeons will have to be on the GMC specialist register in the area of training that covers the operations they wish to perform.
In addition to this, the surgeon will need to demonstrate they have the following:
- They have undertaken a minimum number of procedures within the relevant region of the body in a facility recognised by the health regulator;
- They have appropriate professional skills to undertake cosmetic surgery;
- They can provide evidence of the quality of their surgical outcomes.
The certification will only permit surgeons working in the private sector to undertake cosmetic surgery on the areas of the body that relates to the speciality they are trained in.
The Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee
The CSIC was set up by the Royal College of Surgeons following medical director of the NHS Sir Bruce Keogh’s Review of the Regulations of Cosmetic Interventions. This looked at surgical and non-surgical cosmetic interventions and found that “the existing regulatory framework has not kept pace with changes and does not provide enough protection against many of the potential risks from cosmetic procedures.”
Although nine out of 10 cosmetic interventions are non-surgical, the Keogh Review recommended that the Royal College of Surgeons should establish a Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) to take forward its recommendations relating to the regulation of cosmetic surgery.