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‘Decisive Action Needed’ Over Cosmetic Surgery Regulation

RCS Guidance ‘A Step In The Right Direction’, But More To Do


Medical negligence specialists have warned that new guidance published by the Royal College Of Surgeons (RCS) regarding non-surgical cosmetic treatments only serves to demonstrate the worrying lack of regulation across the industry and the need for Government action on the issue.

The professional body has published new standards for cosmetic practice designed to put in place expectations in terms of the support that patients receiving treatments such as Botox should receive, as well as who should administer such therapy.

At present, anyone can administer certain treatments, but the Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice state that only doctors, dentists and nurses who have undertaken training should do so.

Practitioners should also consider psychological issues prior to treatment, including any body image concerns of a patient, their reasons for seeking the help and ensure that patients are given a clear understanding of the risks of the procedure.

The RCS has stressed that while it cannot enforce the standards on the profession, the hope is that these measures will feed into ongoing work by the Government to review standards in relation to cosmetic surgery. A review by Sir Bruce Keogh is to be published in March.

Irwin Mitchell’s team of medical law and patients’ rights lawyers represent people who have suffered as a result of complications in both invasive and non-invasive cosmetic surgery, including dermal fillers such as Novabel.

Mandy Luckman, a Partner and expert in the field based at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office, said: “While the publication of these standards is very welcome, the fact that such recommendations cannot be enforced means it seems that little continues to be done to ensure that safety standards in relation to cosmetic surgery and treatments are improved.

“This is despite worries around such treatment existing now for several years, with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency identifying concerns about the filler Novabel around two years ago.

“Remarkably, fillers are not currently classed as a medical device, which means they do not have to reach acceptable patient safety standards in place in relation to those kinds of products. As our cases have shown, the need for change in this area is more urgent than ever.

“This is not a harmless procedure and we have seen first-hand the shocking impact that problems and complications can have on those involved. Patients need proper advice and support before going through such treatment, but they also need to be reassured that the products involved are also safe.

“The RCS guidance is a step in the right direction, but we eagerly await more direct and decisive action from the Government to ensure safety comes first. March cannot come soon enough.”

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.