Call to curb aggressive marketing in cosmetic surgery

TIGHTER restrictions on aggressive marketing ploys to attract cosmetic surgery patients are among the responses to a Call for Evidence in a Government review of regulations for cosmetic interventions.

An interim report published by the NHS Medical Director, Sir Bruce Keogh, calls for a clamp down on marketing techniques such as two-for-one, time-limited deals and cosmetic surgery as competition prizes.

The Call to Evidence launched in August asked for suggestions from the public, the cosmetic interventions industry and patient groups on how best to protect people considering cosmetic procedures. These will feed in to the work of the review which will publish its recommendations in March.

Other suggestions that the majority of respondents wanted to see implemented included banning free consultations for cosmetic surgery as they might make people feel obliged to go through with procedures. Consultations should also be conducted with a medical professional and not a sales adviser.

Consent should involve a two-stage written procedure so that patients have time to reflect before making a decision and should be informed by details of risks and possible side-effects such as bruising or scarring.

The review was launched by the Secretary of State for Health following the PiP breast implant scandal last year. It was set up to look at the regulation and safety of products used in cosmetic interventions and how best to ensure that those carrying out procedures have the necessary skills and qualifications, and that patients undergoing cosmetic surgery and procedures are given the information, advice and time for reflection needed to make an informed choice.

Vivienne Parry, review committee member, writer and broadcaster said: "Aggressive marketing techniques are often used to maximise profit. This may be the right approach for selling double glazing but not for people having or considering whether to have surgery.

"Everyone who decides to have cosmetic surgery should have time to think about the risks. Time limited deals and offers on voucher websites pressure people to make snap decisions."

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