Finding a reputable and quality cosmetic surgery clinic is difficult these days. Through the lens of good marketing and a few slight of hand tricks, patients are being duped into handing over huge amounts of money to people who are neither qualified nor experienced enough to carry out complex procedures. Whether it’s home or abroad – where there seems to have been an increase in substandard treatments leading to life-threatening conditions – cosmetic surgery is a difficult industry to navigate alone.
The government now wants to increase the quality of cosmetic surgery clinics throughout the UK by giving the Care Quality Commission the resources to name and shame inadequate facilities. This will apply to private clinics along with NHS-run services including hospitals and GPs. Around one-hundred cosmetic surgery clinics are set to be given transparent ratings, ranging from ‘outstanding’ and ‘good’ to ‘requires improvement’ and ‘inadequate’.
Health secretary, Jeremy Hunt said: “Our proposals to extend the CQC’s powers to rate more providers are an important step forward in improving standards and will help to end the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry.”
Following the PIP breast implant scandal in 2012 when around 50,000 women in the UK were given faulty implants containing industrial grade silicone, the government launched a review headed by NHS medical director, Sir Bruce Keogh.
Although this rating system is a step in the right direction for transparency, Douglas McGeorge, former president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons noted that the ratings would apply to the facilities rather than the clinicians. As a result, he advised that anyone using the service should be “extremely vigilant” and be sure to check their surgeon’s credentials. He said: “We welcome – and indeed, have been calling for during the last decade – as much government scrutiny as is possible of the cosmetic sector. This is an arena where regulation has historically been lax and many practitioners can engage in procedures they are not trained or even qualified to perform.”