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Surgeons back proposals to improve regulation of cosmetic surgery

Surgeons have this week backed a private members’ bill that has been tabled and seeks to improve the regulation of cosmetic surgery.

In a statement released today, the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) said they supported the changes proposed by former health secretary Lord Lansley.

The Bill would enable the General Medical Council to note on its medical register which surgeons have been awarded the RCS’ cosmetic surgery certification, which identifies medics who are suitably trained and qualified to carry out cosmetic surgery.

If passed, the Bill would mean that both employers and patients could access the list of to check their surgeon’s credentials before going under the knife.

“Surgeons have long campaigned for the regulation of cosmetic surgery to be improved,” said Steve Cannon, vice-president of the RCS, and lead of the organisation’s cosmetic surgery work.

“At present, there is little to stop any doctor from practising cosmetic surgery even if they are not suitably skilled and experienced. If passed into law, this Bill will allow providers and patients to check which surgeons on the General Medical Council register of doctors have gone through our certification system which assesses whether a surgeon has the appropriate training, qualifications and experience to perform cosmetic procedures.”

Currently, patients are forced to rely on word of mouth to know which surgeons can perform quality surgery, Cannon added, something which is “simply unacceptable”.

“Lord Lansley’s Bill would change this and it has our strong support,” he concluded.

David Ward, president of BAPRAS, stated: ““This Bill is long overdue and BAPRAS welcomes Lord Lansley’s initiative which will make cosmetic surgery much safer for patients.

“We trust that all members of Parliament will support this pragmatic and self-evident Bill which will assist patients in checking that their doctor is a surgeon who has the appropriate training and experience to treat them.”

Ward highlighted that patients will be able to avoid doctors who do not have qualifications for cosmetic operations or whose qualifications are inadequate, such as just having completed a weekend course.

“Just as importantly, patients will be reassured that their surgeon will provide proper after-care,” Ward added.

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