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New cosmetic surgery rules could see practitioners struck off for offering deals and misleading patients

Those who fail to comply risk being struck off the medical register 

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 12 April 2016 13:51 BST
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(numbeos/iStock)

The body which regulates doctors in the UK has published strict new rules on cosmetic surgery.

The guidance applies to both surgical and non-surgical producers, including breast implants and Botox.

A cosmetic surgeon found to break the fresh guidance issued by the General Medical Council (GMC) could be struck off the medical register.

New rules include a ban on promotional methods such as “two-for-one” and prizes.

Cosmetic surgeons are banned from making “unjustifiable claims” about the services that they offer.

Practitioners must also seek consent from their clients, rather than asking another member of staff to do so, and ensure that they do not feel rushed or pressured into signing up for a procedure. This includes giving them written information.

A client’s psychological needs must be considered, and they must be properly cared for after their service.

Surgeons are also bound to keep full and accurate records of consultation and contribute to national systems.

Data recently published by the British Assocation of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons showed that a record number of adults in the UK underwent cosmetic surgery last year, rising by 13 per cent.

The new rules follow a 2013 NHS report from Sir Bruce Keogh, who warned that advertising practices are misleading.

Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the GMC, said: “Cosmetic interventions should not be entered into lightly or without serious considerations.

”Above all, patients considering whether to have such a procedure need honest and straightforward advice which allows them to understand the risks as well as the possible benefits.

“It is a challenging area of medicine which deals with patients who can be extremely vulnerable.

"Most doctors who practise in this area do so to a high standard but we do sometimes come across poor practice, and it is important that patients are protected from this and that doctors understand what is expected from them.“

Health minister Ben Gummer said: ”Anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure should expect to have high quality and safe clinical care.

“This new guidance for doctors is an important step forward in improving standards and ending the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry.”

Stephen Cannon, vice president of the RCS, which has published its own professional guidance on the issue, said: “The message to surgeons and doctors working in the cosmetic surgery industry is simple: if you are not working to the surgical standards we have set out today, you should not be treating patients at all.

However, the RCS has called for the GMC to be given regulatory powers

Mr Cannon said: ”Cosmetic surgery is a booming industry, but the law currently allows any doctor - surgeon or otherwise - to perform cosmetic surgery in the private sector.

“To correct this, we will launch a new system of certification later this year which will help patients to find a certified surgeon, who has the appropriate training, experience and insurance to carry out a procedure - such as a tummy tuck or nose job.

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