The Royal College of Surgeons proposes a register of certified cosmetic surgeons
Existing regulation does not provide enough protection for patients
A register of certified surgeons should be available to the public to help them make informed decisions and allow employers to ensure that a surgeon is appropriately trained says the Royal College of Surgeons in proposals that include giving patients access to a register of approved cosmetic surgeons.
Under current legislation, a medical surgeon must be registered and licensed by the GMC to undertake procedures. However, in the realm of cosmetic surgery there is no common accreditation available because of the variety of surgical areas covered.
The proposals have been made by the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC), set up by the Royal College of Surgeons in 2013 after a review of the regulations of cosmetic interventions, which showed a lack of protection for patients against potential risks of cosmetic procedures. The CSIC recommendation is that private patients undergoing surgery for aesthetic, rather than medical reasons, should be aware of and have access to clear, credible and independent information about the procedure, the surgeon and where their operation will take place.
The proposed register will require surgeons to meet new standards of training and certification in order to be included. Patients selecting a surgeon from the register can be assured that they meet the GMC’s standards in the area of training that covers their specialism and the operation they wish to perform. Besides ensuring that listed surgeons have the appropriate professional skills to perform cosmetic surgery, the certification will confirm that all listed surgeons will have undertaken a minimum number of procedures within the relevant region of the body, in a clinic recognised by the health regulator. Practitioners will also have to provide evidence of the quality of their surgical outcomes.
Committee chairman Stephen Cannon, vice president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said the plans could bring a consistency to the standard of care provided.
“We are determined to ensure there are the same rigorous standards for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery in the UK as other types of surgery,” he said.
“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.
“We want patients, surgeons and providers of cosmetic surgery to respond to this consultation and give us their views so we can develop these new standards.”
There are 13 proposed major areas of certification which require speciality training, including head and neck surgery, periorbital surgery, nose surgery, ear surgery, facial contouring, facial skeletal surgery, breast surgery and genital surgery.
This consultation is open until Friday 6 March 2015, although responses will be accepted by the Royal College of Surgeons until Friday 20 March 2015.