Qualifying as a plastic surgeon is the culmination of a structured core surgical training of two years and a specialised training in plastic surgery of six years. The competition to achieve a national training place is intense and not everyone achieves this. To become a recognised specialist, the plastic surgeon in training needs to pass higher written and clinical exams to achieve FRCS (Plast), which is awarded by the Royal Colleges of Surgeons. Only then does their name become entered on the GMC specialist register as being a plastic surgeon.
The training involves NHS work and also aesthetic surgery undertaken outside the NHS and supervised by training consultants. Whilst not all plastic surgeons training on the national training programme undertake aesthetic surgery, most do.
BAPRAS, through its role in the Royal Colleges of the British Isles, is adamant that surgical standards should be maintained. We have reservations about the level of training of some aesthetic surgeons who have not come through the UK national training programme for plastic surgery. Supervised clinical training is the key to safe surgical practice.
Once on the specialist register, surgical training does not end, but advances with further clinical and academic work. Whilst some may derive benefit from a taught MSc course, the majority of UK-trained plastic surgeons may not find it pitched at a sufficiently high level or sufficiently practical.
Richard Milner, President, BAPRAS
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