Review Of Cosmetic Surgery Industry Recommends Greater Regulation To Protect Patients

Medical Law Expert Welcomes Report And Finds Recommendations Positive


By Helen MacGregor

Medical law experts at Irwin Mitchell have welcomed a review of the cosmetic surgery industry by Sir Bruce Keogh which calls for a ‘crackdown’ on who can provide treatments and how they can be marketed to protect patient safety.

The report released today (24 April) by the health service's medical director criticises television programmes such as The Only Way Is Essex and celebrity magazine features which encourage women to seek nose jobs, breast implants and injectable dermal fillers.

But it adds that communication about safety issues surrounding procedures is poor and there is almost a total lack of regulation in some areas.

The review recommends:
• Legislation to classify dermal fillers as prescription only
• Formal qualifications for anyone who injects fillers or Botox
• A national register of everyone who performs surgical or non-surgical cosmetic interventions
• Banning special financial offers for surgery
• Creating a formal certificate of competence for cosmetic surgeons
• A breast implant register to monitor patients
• Patients' procedures must be approved by a surgeon not a salesperson
• Compulsory insurance in case things go wrong
• A pooled fund to help patients when companies go bust - similar to the travel industry
The health minister Dan Poulter responded saying he agrees entirely with the principles behind the recommendations and the government would respond fully in the summer.

Mandy Luckman, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office who specialises in cosmetic surgery claims, said: “We welcome this review by such a senior member of the medical profession and find the recommendations in the report, that ensure people who choose to undergo non-invasive procedures are in safe hands, very positive.

“We have been calling for government intervention and greater regulation of the cosmetic surgery industry to protect patient safety for years, after seeing an increasing number of potential claims involving practitioners that are not medically qualified and exposing patients to harm.

“We regularly receive enquiries from individuals that have sustained significant damage, which on occasions is permanent, following fillers and Botox procedures and there seems to be a pattern that they have not been warned of the risks to their health.”

The review into the cosmetic industry was requested by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, after around 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), mostly in private UK clinics.

The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to medical negligence claims