UK cosmetic procedures standards announced

By Lynda Williams, Senior medwireNews Reporter

The Royal College of Surgeons has published a report on the professional standards, competencies and behaviors expected for physicians, nurses, and dentists performing cosmetic procedures in the UK.

The Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice report has been released ahead of the UK government's Department of Health cosmetic review, expected to be published in March 2013.

The report has been written by Cosmetic Surgical Practice Working Party, made up of members from 13 professional bodies. These include the Royal College of Surgeons of England, the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), the Faculty of Dental Surgery, the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and the British Association of Dermatologists.

It recommends that all cosmetic treatments, including laser treatment and injectable cosmetics such as Botox, should be provided only by licensed doctors, and registered nurses and dentists.

Invasive procedures should be performed only by doctors on the General Medical Council specialist register, while minimally invasive procedures may be carried out by qualified doctors, dentists, and nurses.

Practitioners should also have full life skills training in line with guidelines of the UK Resuscitation Council and ensure patients have access to help at all times, the report states. Indemnity insurance should be adequate to cover all procedures performed.

In addition, the working group recommends that cosmetic practitioners must be open about their professional qualifications to their patients, and produce marketing that is "honest and responsible."

Practitioners should also be sure that patients have full understanding of the financial implications of treatment before they sign a consent form, and provide a complaints procedure for their patients.

"Practitioners should adhere to the processes of patient care outlined in this document, which highlights the importance of preparing the patient before the procedure, ensuring the patient has a full understanding of the risks involved in the procedure, consideration of the need for a psychological assessment and the pre and postoperative requirements of the procedure," the working party states.

President of BAAPS Rajiv Grover welcomed the report in a press release. However, commenting on the advice on patient consultations, he said that "BAAPS would go a stage further than this report and unambiguously specify that the consultations must only ever be with the surgeon who will actually carry out the procedure."

Rajiv added that BAAPs also recommended stronger regulation on the advertising of cosmetic procedures, which are designed to achieve sales rather than educate or inform potential patients.

"Although the [Royal College of Surgeon's] report suggests tighter control of marketing in this area with a ban on such strategies as time-limited offers, again at the BAAPS we feel there is a need to go even further - the only way to fully protect the public is to have an outright ban on advertising, as seen in some European countries and which is also applicable to prescription medicines," he said.

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