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Surgeons back Lord Lansley’s cosmetic surgery regulation bill

22 Jun 2017

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) are backing an attempt by former health secretary Lord Lansley to change the law on cosmetic surgery.

Former Health Secretary, Rt Hon Lord Lansley, has successfully tabled a private members’ bill through the House of Lords’ Peers private members’ bill ballot announced today to improve the regulation of cosmetic surgery. The Bill will enable the General Medical Council to note on its medical register which surgeons have been awarded the RCS’ cosmetic surgery certification which identifies which surgeons are suitably qualified and skilled to undertake cosmetic surgery. This would allow employers and patients to check which surgeons they should use.

House of Lords’ private member bills have a good chance of progressing as there are fewer constraints on non-government business compared with the House of Commons. Support from cross-party MPs is expected if the Bill reaches the Commons. Earlier this year Kevan Jones MP supported a similar Bill in the House of Commons but it ran out of Parliamentary time.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics has today called for urgent improved regulation of cosmetic surgery. The Conservative Party’s manifesto promised to introduce legislation to ensure ‘effective registration and regulation of those performing cosmetic interventions’ but this was not mentioned explicitly in the Queen’s Speech.

Steve Cannon, Vice-President of the Royal College of Surgeons, who has led the RCS’ cosmetic surgery work, said:

“Surgeons have long campaigned for the regulation of cosmetic surgery to be improved. At present there is little to stop any doctor from practising cosmetic surgery even if they are not suitably skilled and experienced. If passed into law, this Bill will allow providers and patients to check which surgeons on the General Medical Council register of doctors have gone through our certification system which assesses whether a surgeon has the appropriate training, qualifications and experience to perform cosmetic procedures.

“At present, patients have to rely on word-of-mouth to know which surgeons are able to adequately perform cosmetic surgery. This is simply unacceptable.

“Lord Lansley’s Bill would change this and it has our strong support.”

David Ward, President of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) said:

“This Bill is long overdue and BAPRAS welcomes Lord Lansley’s initiative which will make cosmetic surgery much safer for patients. We trust that all Members of Parliament will support this pragmatic and self-evident Bill which will assist patients in checking that their doctor is a surgeon who has the appropriate training and experience to treat them. Patients will be able to avoid doctors who do not have qualifications for cosmetic operations or whose qualifications are inadequate, such as just having completed a weekend course. Just as importantly, patients will be reassured that their surgeon will provide proper after-care.”

Notes to editors

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation and registered charity, which exists to advance surgical standards and improve patient care.

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