GMC, RCS Raise the Bar for Cosmetic Surgery in the UK


Starting in June 2016, the UK will have new rules and regulations governing the practice of cosmetic surgery and the practices of cosmetic surgeons.

The new guidance, issued by the General Medical Council (GMC), aims to reign in cosmetic cowboys in the UK and protect patient safety. They were developed after a review by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh highlighted the risks associated with cosmetic interventions.

According to the new rules:

Cosmetic surgeons must advertise and market services responsibly. Promotional tactics such as ‘two-for-one’ deals are unacceptable as are offering procedures as prizes.

Patients must be given information about risks and ample time to decide whether to go ahead with a procedure. The doctor carrying out a cosmetic procedure is responsible for discussing it with the patient and obtaining their consent. This responsibility must not be delegated, the new guidance states.

Patients must know who to contact and how their care will be managed if they experience any complications.

Doctors must make full and accurate records of consultations, use systems to identify and act on any patient safety concerns, and contribute to programs that monitor quality and outcomes including registries for devices such as breast implants.

The GMC is working closely with the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), which also published its own set of professional standards for cosmetic surgery to supplement the GMC’s guidance. The RCS guidance calls for communication with patients, consent, professional behaviors, and dealing with the psychologically vulnerable patient. Later this year the RCS will also launch a new certification scheme, allowing patients to more easily search for a surgeon who has the necessary skills and experience to perform the procedure they are considering.

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