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Is The New GMC Guidance Enough to Protect Victims of Cosmetic Surgery?

New rules recently announced by the General Medical Council aim to tighten up regulation and remove rogue surgeons from the UK’s cosmetic surgery industry.

Cosmetic Surgery Patient
These include outlawing supermarket-style promotions such as the ‘Buy one procedure, get one free’ offers and making sure patients are given adequate time and information before making such an important decision about their bodies.

Failure to adhere to these new rules, backed by the Royal College of Surgeons, could lead to doctors being struck off. The cosmetic surgery industry has been under-regulated for far too long and these changes are welcome, but in such a growing industry more still needs to be done.

Tighter regulation is needed to make sure surgeons operating in the UK are properly insured and competent. I welcome the Royal College of Surgeons’ new certification scheme and support their call for a new regulatory power for the General Medical Council to highlight whether or not surgeons have been certified.

Our clinical negligence lawyers have been instructed by many people who have unfortunately suffered complications caused by cosmetic surgery negligence. They include the family of Denise Hendry, wife of former Scotland football captain Colin Hendry, who tragically passed away in 2009 after losing a seven year battle with ill health following a routine liposuction operation.

Many surgeons work in Europe as well as in the UK and it is not always known if there has been a complaint made against them. In Denise’s case, as in many others, the surgeon removed himself from the General Medical Council’s register meaning that he avoided any possible fitness to practice hearing which could have seen him struck off. Whilst he could no longer practiced in the UK, he continued to operate in Sweden.

Their daughter, Rheagan, went on to set up the Denise Hendry Foundation, a charity that supports people affected by clinical negligence while undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures and campaigns for better patient safety.

She said: “It’s a terrifying reality that people have cosmetic surgery quite freely without considering the risks and, as the industry grows, so too does the number of accidents.

“Since my mother’s death, I have campaigned for steps to be taken to address this and my family and I welcome the fact that something is finally being done.

“This represents a huge step forward in making the cosmetic surgery industry safer, but what matters now is where we go from here.

“I would like to make sure that people are educated and informed enough to make that decision.”

Lauren Tully is a clinical negligence solicitor at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Manchester.

If you have suffered complications caused by clinical negligence call us for a free consultation any time of day on 0800 916 9049 or contact us online. We can provide immediate representation anywhere in the UK.


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