'Unchecked plastic surgeons are butchering thousands'

Rogue cosmetic surgeons are "butchering" thousands of patients in Britain every year because of a lack of regulation of their work, a senior Labour MP warned yesterday.

Ann Clwyd called for the introduction of tough new guidelines to regulate the industry as she named one surgeon claimed by other doctors to be "verging on the psychopathic".

The Cynon Valley MP used parliamentary privilege to highlight complaints from 70 patients against David Charles Herbert, who practised in Preston, Nottingham and Huntingdon, Cambridgeshire.

Mr Herbert was nicknamed the "flying doctor" because of his speed in the operating theatre, performing a face-lift in 40 minutes when other surgeons take between two and four hours, MPs were told.

Ms Clwyd said the surgeon - who was the subject of a BBC Watchdog programme in 1988 - was still operating despite the complaints and allegedly leaving a hospital in Nottingham in 1986 when staff refused to work with him. "It is just incredible that this man should be continuing to operate given the complaints against him," she said.

"There are allegations that he often settles out of court with patients in order to avoid bad publicity that would come in a court case. A number of surgeons, his close colleagues ... have also made very serious observations about his work, ranging from 'verging on the psychopathic' to 'crude' to 'he's a psychopath'."

The MP went into detail about some of the allegations against Mr Herbert, including one woman who was claimed to have nearly died from a bowel infection after a stomach-tuck operation. "One woman - and these are all allegations, obviously - was [also] left with a gaping hole in her stomach after a tummy tuck. A number of women have had to have corrective surgery after he performed breast surgery and he performed a face-lift without using enough anaesthetic. The list of allegations and complaints goes on and on."

Speaking during a debate in Westminster Hall, Ms Clwyd said she had pursued the case with the Department of Health, the General Medical Council (GMC) and the Government's chief medical officer.

But the GMC was not pushing for a misconduct charge against Mr Herbert and it was more likely that he would retire than a face proceedings, MPs were told.

Ms Clwyd said the case was symptomatic of a wider problem in an industry, dominated by the private sector, where people were spending millions of pound a year without sufficient safeguards.

While plastic surgery in the NHS was "generally very safe", there was a need for tighter regulation across the board,she said.

Among the MP's proposals was an improved patients' complaints procedure and an independent disciplinary body to investigate complaints, with surgeons being suspended during any inquiry. She added that unless someone specifically claimed they were a doctor or surgeon they could legally operate without any expertise. "I think there are far too many butchers practising in these private cosmetic clinics. To repair butchered surgery can be very time consuming, expensive and embarrassing for the person concerned," Ms Clwyd said.

She also criticised advertising that offered a wide range of cosmetic treatments - from face-lifts to chin tucks, nose realignment, ear corrections, fat removal and tummy tucks.

"So much of the advertising is totally misleading because it does not give the impression that there is any danger in carrying out these procedures," she said.

John Hutton, Health minister, said the Care Standards Bill currently going through Parliament would improve regulation of clinics where cosmetic surgery was carried out.

News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
newsScholars left shaken after shining ultraviolet light on 500-year-old Welsh manuscript
News
Rosamund Pike played Bond girld Miranda Frost, who died in Die Another Day (PA)
news
Arts and Entertainment
books
News
newsHow do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? With people like this
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookPart of The Independent’s new eBook series The Great Composers
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: In House Counsel - Contracts

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading supplier of compliance software a...

    Recruitment Genius: Associate System Engineer

    £24000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Associate System Engineer r...

    Recruitment Genius: Executive Assistant

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An Executive Assistant is required to join a l...

    Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager - B2B, Corporate - City, London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

    Day In a Page

    General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

    The masterminds behind the election

    How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
    Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

    Machine Gun America

    The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
    The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

    The ethics of pet food

    Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
    How Tansy Davies turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    How a composer turned 9/11 into her opera 'Between Worlds'

    Tansy Davies makes her operatic debut with a work about the attack on the Twin Towers. Despite the topic, she says it is a life-affirming piece
    11 best bedside tables

    11 best bedside tables

    It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
    Italy vs England player ratings: Did Andros Townsend's goal see him beat Harry Kane and Wayne Rooney to top marks?

    Italy vs England player ratings

    Did Townsend's goal see him beat Kane and Rooney to top marks?
    Danny Higginbotham: An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    An underdog's tale of making the most of it

    Danny Higginbotham on being let go by Manchester United, annoying Gordon Strachan, utilising his talents to the full at Stoke and plunging into the world of analysis
    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police

    Steve Bunce: Inside Boxing

    Audley Harrison's abusers forget the debt he's due, but Errol Christie will always remember what he owes the police
    No postcode? No vote

    Floating voters

    How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

    By Reason of Insanity

    Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
    Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

    Power dressing is back

    But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
    Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

    Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

    Caves were re-opened to the public
    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

    Vince Cable interview

    'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
    Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

    Promises, promises

    But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
    The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

    The death of a Gaza fisherman

    He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat