Tougher standards for cosmetic practice

  • Date: 30 January 2013

ONLY qualified healthcare professionals should be allowed to carry out cosmetic procedures, according to new standards from the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS).

The RCS recommends that only surgeons should provide cosmetic surgery and only appropriately-trained doctors, dentists and nurses should provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments such as Botox. It warns that, under current rules “certain cosmetic treatments can be administered by anyone, anywhere with no medical training.”

The college wants it to become standard practice for practitioners to discuss “relevant psychological issues” with patients in order to find out their reasons for seeking treatment. And it says that at no point should it be implied that treatment will make a patient feel “better” or “look nicer”.

Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice focuses on the behaviour and competencies medical professionals should be expected to demonstrate when providing cosmetic procedures. It calls for a ban on time-limited discount deals and says patients must have a clear understanding of the risks of the procedure they are undergoing. Costs should also be made clear from the outset.

The RCS, however, acknowledges that it is not a regulator and the standards cannot be legally enforced.

College president Professor Norman Williams said: “[T]he profession has a responsibility to provide standards to which we would expect our members to work. We have serious concerns that not all those who offer cosmetic procedures are adequately qualified, or that patients are getting accurate information prior to treatment.”

The guidance is designed to feed into the government review of cosmetic interventions that was launched in August by the Secretary of State for Health.

This page was correct at the time of publication. Any guidance is intended as general guidance for members only. If you are a member and need specific advice relating to your own circumstances, please contact one of our advisers.

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