Plastic surgery ‘should be done by specialist surgeons’

DOCTORS should be prevented from performing plastic surgery outside their speciality, according to the Royal College of Surgeons.

It told the BBC the current rules allowed “GPs to do nose jobs” and that was “a big problem” for patients.

The organisation wants a new system to certify surgeons for each procedure.

Bodies that represent plastic surgeons say they support the idea, but it would only help patients if it was “mandatory and policed”.

The whole industry has been under intense scrutiny since thousands of women were fitted with sub-standard breast implants made by Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

Ministers described it as a “cowboy industry” of “murky practices”.

The Royal College of Surgeons has launched a consultation on ways of cleaning up the industry.

One suggestion is a register of certified surgeons to help the public make an informed decision about the quality of their plastic surgeon.

Doctors would have to be a proven specialist in their field and provide evidence about their success rates.

Stephen Cannon, the vice-president of the College, told the BBC: “Operating outside of speciality is a big problem in private practice as money is involved, so we hope to rectify that.

“There will be no concerns if you’re already an established surgeon doing extremely well.

“But it’ll stop the general practitioner doing the nose job, it’ll stop the dermatologist lifting someone’s breasts, it’ll stop all that cowboy behaviour which goes on.”

However, the certificate system will be voluntary.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) says the proposal is a step in the right direction, but does not go far enough.

Rajiv Grover, a Baaps spokesman and former president, said: “This will only protect the public if the recommendations are mandatory and policed.

“It is essential that the public know who to go to when seeking a qualified cosmetic surgeon, but also, to be assured that the quality of their outcome will meet accepted standards, and particularly to meet their own expectations.”

Nigel Mercer, the president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, commented: “This tightening of existing regulations will go a long way to help prospective patients and employing clinics recognise high quality surgical expertise, leading to improved patient safety.”

The Royal College of Surgeons advised people to look beyond the bill when picking a surgeon.

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