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Review of Cosmetic Surgery Regulation to be considered

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I have written previous blogs about the PIP implant scare and it seems as though this scandal, which has affected tens of thousands of British women, has had the result of bringing the cosmetic surgery industry into the limelight, and not necessarily in a good way. Listening to Daybreak on ITV this morning, it seems as though the main issues that are likely to fall to be considered are:

-The level of qualification and extent of experience required in order that an individual can legally practice cosmetic surgery

-The often aggressive marketing techniques employed by the industry (e.g. reduced cost if you sign up on the day)

-The level (or lack) of aftercare provided by clinics providing cosmetic procedures. This has been highlighted in the news previously, particularly in relation to both PIP implants and surgery undertaken abroad.

-The need for psychological evaluation of patients/clients before they undergo cosmetic surgery.

As a clinical negligence solicitor I am regularly consulted by individuals who have suffered complications following cosmetic surgery or are unhappy with the result, and would welcome tighter regulation of the industry. It must also be made very clear to potential patients that all procedures have risks attached to them in the same way that any other surgery does, and furthermore, that the aesthetic result of any procedure cannot be guaranteed. In addition, the training, qualifications and experience of the surgeon or practitioner, and the availability of aftercare should something go wrong, are of far greater importance in the longer term than the cost of the procedure. Similarly, prospective patients have a responsibility to themselves to carry out appropriate research before signing up to any procedure.

However, this is not a new issue. In 2009 there was considerable coverage in the news about the need for tighter regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry. Click here to read more.

In 2005, the Department of Health produced a report on the Regulation of Cosmetic Surgery. Click here to read more.

It seems as though this is a topic that arises on a fairly regular basis, particularly so when something goes very wrong, such as the fiasco surrounding the PIP implants. Whether or not anything will really change following this latest review, remains to be seen.  

Kym Provan

Associate - Clinical Negligence team

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