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Professional Discipline Solicitor Rosemary Rollason on Cosmetic Surgery industry review

A review of the cosmetic surgery sector led on behalf of the Department of Health by Sir Bruce Keogh, Medical Director of the NHS, has called for major reform of the regulation of the industry.

The review, commissioned following the faulty PIP breast implant scandal and published yesterday, raises concerns about the “normalisation” and trivialisation of cosmetic procedures encouraged by the media and reality television. The Telegraph reported figures which show a dramatic increase in the demand for cosmetic surgery in the last 8 years: in 2005 the value of the market was 725 million, but is forecast to rise to 3.6 billion by 2015. The report raises concerns about the lack of control over who conducts these procedures and the quality and content of the materials used, such as dermal fillers.

The review is likely to result in the long called-for tighter regulation of all aspects of the practice of cosmetic surgery, including training and certification of those the various types of practitioners, medically qualified and non- qualified. There is greater existing control over medical professionals such as surgeons, doctors and nurses by their professional regulatory bodies, the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council, which can investigate complaints and ultimately prevent those professional from practising if necessary. The Royal College of Surgeons has also said it will set new standards and introduce a certification process for those who are have experience and skills in the area. However, the report was most concerned about non-surgical procedures and in particular the use of dermal fillers, which now account for 75% of cosmetic procedures. Their use is largely unregulated, despite the serious potential risks involved for patients. One proposal of the report is that dermal fillers should become prescription only substances.  

The report calls on the Government to introduce tighter controls urgently, and Health Minister Dan Poulter has said the Government agreed with the [principles behind the recommendation] and will respond in the summer. 

By Professional Discipline Solicitor Rosemary Rollason.

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The report can be seen by clicking here.