Self-regulation is not in the best interest of patients

7th January 2008


The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) welcomed today's Which? report into cosmetic treatments.

Hamish Laing, consultant plastic surgeon and member of BAPRAS said:
"The Which? report shows the need for better policing of cosmetic treatments and we are concerned that patients are not being given the quality of information they need. Anyone considering plastic surgery should ensure that they are getting as much accurate information as possible on what the procedure entails, what the potential isks could be as well as what aftercare they will receive.

"It is unacceptable that some patients are not getting this information as a matter of course, or even being given the wrong advice. It is an integral part of the consultation process and all reputable surgeons will supply potential patients with this information so they can make an informed decision. Patients must have a pre-operative consultation with the surgeon who will carry out the procedure and it is common to be offered a second consultation. The patient must have time to consider what has been discussed after and appropriate assessment by the surgeon who will carry out the operation. A recent survey of BAPRAS members showed that they will not agree with the request for surgery if it thought to be inappropriate, or not in the patient’s best interest.

"Anyone considering plastic surgery should consult with a surgeon who is on both the General Medical Council (GMC) general and specialist registers and expect to be offered the opportunity to have a second consultation after a period of reflection. Pressurised sales techniques such as those seen in the Which? investigation have no place in a decision of such importance as to whether to go ahead with plastic surgery. Before agreeing to a procedure, it is essential to make sure your surgeon has the right qualifications and experience to perform the procedure they are offering. It is essential that patients assure themselves that their surgeon is a qualified practitioner and they can do this by checking the BAPRAS and GMC websites - there is also general information on the Department of Health's website for patients to find out more."

"All patients deserve to be protected by robust regulation. BAPRAS is concerned about the rapid growth of cosmetic surgery and cosmetic treatments without proper egulation. Our members are heavily regulated and answerable to the GMC for their ractice: the idea that self-regulation for other practitioners works has been shown, et again, to be untrue. We join Which? in urging the Government to reconsider its decision to scrap the introduction of a regulatory framework for cosmetic treatments.

BAPRAS is one of a number of groups looking at how cosmetic surgery and cosmetic surgery treatments (65% of all cosmetic surgery interventions) should be regulated. he decision by the Government to move away from introducing regulation towards self regulation is, in BAPRAS' view, misguided and should be reconsidered. Hamish aing commented that: "This survey gives further evidence to support our view that proper regulation is required.

BAPRAS believes that the industry must do all it can to ensure patient safety and rovide high quality treatment that is properly informed. The Association has developed training programmes and a curriculum that include cosmetic (aesthetic) urgical procedures for all trainee plastic surgeons. All potential consultant plastic surgeons must pass the FRCS (Plast.) examination, which includes aesthetic surgery in its content before they can obtain a certificate of completion of training. BAPRAS also funds a tutor in Aesthetic surgery jointly with the Royal College of Surgeons in England.

BAPRAS members all hold a CCT or CCST in plastic surgery and are on the specialist register for plastic surgery at the GMC. Members are therefore liable to MC disciplinary action if they fail in their duty of care to patients. Members are also subject to a formal annual appraisal of both their NHS and independent practices and ill be bound by the new recertification and revalidation regulations being introduced by the GMC to ensure competence to practice is being maintained


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