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Tighter Regulation ‘A Vital Goal’ As Cosmetic Surgery Review Is Launched

Inquiry To Examine New Measures To Protect Patients


Expert medical lawyers representing victims left seriously injured as a result of complications in cosmetic surgery and as the result of defective medical devices have called for tighter regulations to be put in place on the industry as a major inquiry into safety standards gets underway.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is to lead the review of the sector, which has been requested by the Government following the serious concerns raised as a result of the scandal which emerged in relation to faulty PIP breast implants.

The investigation is expected to consider a range of potential measures to better protect patients who undergo a range of procedures, including proposals for surgeons to register devices such as implants and hip replacements which can be used to trace patients and detect any trends related to safety.

Other proposals set to be assessed include whether there should be a requirement for providers of cosmetic treatment and medical products’ manufacturers to have sufficient insurance and indemnity to provide support for a patient if something does go wrong or whether they should participate in bond-type scheme (much like companies who provide package holidays).  The review will also look at what can be done to protect patients if the company who has carried out a procedure goes out of business.

Sir Bruce told The Times that the aim is to address concerns about the “life-long implications and potential complications” that can arise in relation to cosmetic surgery.

Irwin Mitchell’s specialist Product Liability lawyers in its Medical Law team act for many people who have suffered serious complications as a result of cosmetic surgery, including a large number of people affected by problems with faulty PIP breast implants and metal on metal hip replacements.

Gary Walker, a product liability solicitor at Irwin Mitchell who specialises in such cases, said examination of this issue was long overdue.

He outlined: “We have had significant concerns about the cosmetic surgery industry for a number of years and this review shows that the Department of Health is now acknowledging that patient safety is being compromised by inconsistent regulation. We need medical devices to be as carefully regulated as drugs so that manufacturers can be readily held responsible when those devices fail. Particularly when those manufacturers are based abroad ‘’

“Even at this early stage some very importance issues related to how the cosmetic industry and medical devices in general are regulated have been highlighted. We hope that these can be used as a starting point to build on further discussion around this issue, with a view to ultimately providing clear and comprehensive guidance to the industry which needs to be seen to put the welfare of patients first.

“The shocking PIP scandal and the similar concerns in relation to metal-on-metal hip replacement devices are hugely worrying examples of how the current standards in the industry are failing to keep people safe from harm. This cannot be allowed to happen again.

“We hope that this review will lead to a fundamental shift in regulation that will greatly provide improved support for people whose lives have been turned upside down by complications of cosmetic surgery.”

If you have been affected by negligent cosmetic surgery you might be entitled to claim compensation. See our Cosmetic Surgery Claims page for more information.