Major cosmetic surgery review launched

Britain’s cosmetic surgery industry faces tough new regulations over fears that patients are being misled over the safety of procedures.Major cosmetic surgery review launchedThe Government has launched a review into cosmetic surgery following the PIP breast implant scandal

Minimum training requirements for surgeons and psychological screening to protect vulnerable patients are expected to be introduced after an inquiry into the multi-million pound business.

Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS medical director, will make recommendations to the Government after heading an inquiry into concerns raised about cosmetic surgery after breast implants made by the French company Poly Implant Prothese were found to contain industrial silicone.

Sir Bruce said too many people “do not realise how serious cosmetic surgery is”.

Approximately 47,000 women in Britain were given PIP breast implants. By June, almost 750 had undergone removal surgery on the NHS at an estimated cost of £3 million, with many others undergoing the procedure privately.

Among measures expected to be introduced is a register for all procedures from breast implants to hip replacements, tighter regulation of anti-ageing dermal fillers and minimum training requirements for surgeons.

In an interview with The Times, Sir Bruce said he wanted to clean up the “grubby areas” of cosmetic surgery. “I think that there are some very good parts of the cosmetic intervention and surgery industry but there are also some pretty grubby areas.

“There are some pretty hard sales techniques out there at the moment. For example, there are some surgical interventions being offered where if you decide to have it quickly you get a discount. I think that’s scandalous.”

Sir Bruce said the breast implant scare had been a “catalyst” for a review of the industry. An inquiry concluded they did not cause a long-term health threat.

The panel — including Catherine Kydd, a PIP campaigner, Andrew Vallance-Owen, a former medical director of Bupa and Trish Halpin, the editor of Marie Claire magazine — will make recommendations to the Government in March.

Sir Bruce said: “Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong.”

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has welcomed the review, saying it would also advocate a compulsory national register for breast implants and a strict code of advertising to protect vulnerable patients who “seek cosmetic surgery for psychological reasons”.

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