Improving consumer safety in the cosmetic surgery industry

Since the PIP breast augmentation scandal broke in 2010 there have been increasing calls for stricter controls on the surgical and non-surgical aesthetic industry, often led by plastic surgeons themselves that have seen the reputation of the industry as a whole come into question from the actions of a few, less scrupulous practitioners.

As a result of the PIP scandal, the government asked Sir Bruce Keogh to perform a review of the aesthetic industry and in 2014 they accepted the Keogh Review’s recommendations and promised to start work on the following:

  • the Royal College of Surgeons established a committee, drawing from a number of specialties, to review standards in cosmetic surgery and to work with the General Medical Council (GMC) to draw up a guide to ethical conduct.
  • Health Education England start to review training standards for non-surgical procedure which was seen as a cause for concern in the Keogh Review.
    create a breast implant registry
  • The GMC issued guidance for aesthetic practitioners to follow, on the basis if they breach these guidelines they could be even banned from practising in the future.

Chief among these guidelines is irresponsible marketing and advertising that mislead prospective patients such as two-for-one offers or time-sensitive deals. Even more worrying, has been clinics or practitioners offering cosmetic surgery, which could be potentially life-threatening, as a competition prize.

One key point is giving patients a ‘cooling off’ period so they can take the necessary time to make the right decision. Mr Alan Park always ensures that his Coventry cosmetic surgery patients have the necessary time to consider their choices and he’s always happy to see patients for a second consultation if they have more questions.

Choosing your plastic surgeon wisely

At the moment, the emphasis is still very much on the patient to choose their plastic surgeon carefully. One check to make is whether they are a member of any of the independent plastic surgery groups. The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, or BAAPS, has been very vocal about consumer safety. Their members, including Warwickshire-based plastic surgeon Mr Alan Park, all need to comply with the highest standards and the group perform safety audits to ensure these standards are met.