Proposed new standards for cosmetic surgery

  • Date: 29 January 2015

PRIVATE cosmetic surgeons will need to meet new standards of training to be certified and included on an approved register, under new proposals made by the Royal College of Surgeons of England.

Most cosmetic surgery takes place in the private sector and a surgeon must be registered and licensed by the GMC to undertake such procedures. However, there is no common qualification available for those performing cosmetic surgery because it covers a number of surgical areas.

The Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) – set up by the Royal College of Surgeons of England in 2013 – is proposing that surgeons working in the private sector will have to prove they meet new standards of training to be certified and included on a register. This will be publicly available to employers and patients so they can make informed decisions.

Certified surgeons will have to be on the GMC’s specialist register in the area of training that covers the operations they wish to perform. They will also need to demonstrate they have undertaken a minimum number of procedures within the relevant region of the body in a facility recognised by the health regulator and provide evidence of the quality of their surgical outcomes.

Certification will permit surgeons working in the private sector to undertake cosmetic surgery only on the areas of the body that relate to their specialty.

The CSIC was set up by the Royal College of Surgeons following Sir Bruce Keogh’s Review of the Regulations of Cosmetic Interventions. This looked at surgical and non-surgical cosmetic interventions and found that "the existing regulatory framework has not kept pace with changes and it does not provide enough protection against many of the potential risks from cosmetic procedures".

Mr Stephen Cannon, Chair of the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) and Vice President of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: "We are determined to ensure there are the same rigorous standards for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery in the UK as other types of surgery.

"This consultation provides the next step in establishing clear and high standards for training and practice so that all surgeons in the UK are certified to the same level, irrespective of where they trained."

Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the General Medical Council, commented: "Cosmetic surgery patients should feel safe and confident in the hands of their doctor. We are pleased that the Royal College of Surgeons of England is taking this important step to improve patient safety. At the same time, we are working with the college and others to develop a new accreditation scheme which would enable us to approve and show which doctors have the skills needed to carry out cosmetic procedures – but this will require new legislation.

"Later this year we will also produce our own new guidance, which will set out the professional standards we expect from all doctors offering cosmetic treatments. We will be consulting on this in the summer and expect to publish the guidance by the end of the year."


CSIC consultation

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