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RCS response to the final cosmetic interventions report

24 April 2013

We welcome the final report of Sir Bruce Keogh’s review of cosmetic interventions which puts the Royal College of Surgeons in a central role, overseeing training and setting standards for cosmetic surgery. The report recommends that an Interspecialty Committee should be established by the College tasked with the formal certification of surgeons who undertake cosmetic procedures, developing and overseeing a clinical audit database for cosmetic surgery and defining a code of ethical practice for cosmetic procedures.

Commenting on the report, Professor Norman Williams, President of the RCS, said:
“We welcome this report and the recommendations to address the vacuum of regulation and standards that currently exists in cosmetic surgery. Over the past decade there have been numerous reports, a great deal of discussion but little action. The failure of PIP implants was a wake-up call that brought into sharp focus the desperate need for Government intervention to ensure commercial interests no longer take priority over patient safety. We call on Government to work with us to implement these recommendations without delay.

“We support the committee’s recommendation that only doctors on a General Medical Council specialist register should perform cosmetic surgery and work within the scope of their specialty specific training. This is a start to addressing concerns about unqualified practitioners engaged in this work including some overseas surgeons operating in the UK. We welcome the opportunity to set clear standards for training and practice to ensure all surgeons are certified to the same standard irrespective of where they are trained.

“We are also pleased that, as a priority, the review proposes a National Breast Implant Registry should be operational within 12 months. The College has long pressed for mandatory databases for all surgical implants to improve patient safety by keeping an audit trail of device failures and complications. We hope this registry will be rolled out across surgery so that all medical devices are covered.”

Mr Stephen Cannon, Chairman of the RCS Professional Standards for Cosmetic Surgery working party, said: “We welcome the reviews recognition of the multi-disciplinary Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice the RCS published this year. These standards addressed the very real need for doctors, dentists and nurses to undertake appropriate training, to market and advertise their services responsibly and to professionally manage a patient’s expectations of how they will feel after treatment. These standards will lay the groundwork for a number of the Interspecialty Committee’s tasks including the code of ethical practice for cosmetic procedures proposed by the review. This should stamp out unscrupulous practices in the industry once and for all.”

Notes to editor
The review recommends that the RCS establishes a Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee with representation from professional associations and societies including plastic surgery, ENT surgery, maxillofacial surgery, ophthalmology, breast surgery and gynaecology.
The review proposes that practitioners who undertake non-surgical procedures such as dermal filler injections and botulinum toxin injections will not be part of the RCS Interspecialty Committee. They will be registered separately by a body independent of particular professional groups or commercial bodies.

Access copies of Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice (published January 2013).

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. Registered charity number: 212808
For more information, please contact the RCS press office on:
• 020 7869 6047/ 6052
• communications@rcseng.ac.uk
• Out-of hours: 07966 486 832