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Choosing a Surgeon and Hospital

Choose the right surgeon

If you’ve decided to have cosmetic surgery, it’s important to choose a surgeon with the appropriate skills and experience to perform the procedure.

Advice from friends who have had successful surgery can be helpful. Your GP can also offer advice and let you know whether any health issues you might have are likely to affect or be affected by you having cosmetic surgery. Your GP may also know an appropriately trained and experienced surgeon in your local area.

At the moment, doctors who provide cosmetic surgery independently in the private sector only need to be registered with, and licensed by, the General Medical Council (GMC) as a doctor. There is no legal requirement for the doctor to be listed as a specialist surgeon on the GMC’s specialist register.

Later this year, we will be introducing a new cosmetic surgery certification system. Surgeons who are certified by the Royal College of Surgeons will have shown that they meet the standards we have set to perform cosmetic surgery on a particular area of the face or body. You will be able to visit our website to look for a certified surgeon for the procedure you are considering. This will give you extra peace of mind.

To make cosmetic surgery as safe as possible, we strongly advise that the surgeon who is going to perform your procedure is on the General Medical Council’s specialist register for the area of practice relevant to the procedure you want. The surgeon should also be fully insured to carry out the procedure in the UK. You can ask to see details of your surgeon’s insurance. Find out what your surgeon’s and your hospital’s insurance does and doesn't cover you for. Find out which type of surgeon to choose for the procedure you are considering here


Choose the right hospital

Make sure the hospital is registered with the relevant regulator
If you’ve decided to have cosmetic surgery in England, the place where you have your procedure should be registered with the relevant regulator. These are:

Country Regulator
England  Care Quality Commission (CQC). You can search for a CQC-registered hospital and find out about the quality of their service through the CQC website.
Northern Ireland Regulation and Quality Improvement Authority
Scotland Healthcare Imrovement Scotland
Wales  Healthcare Inspectorate Wales

They make sure that hospitals including those that carry out cosmetic surgery, provide people with safe, effective, compassionate, high-quality care.

The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) will soon be launching a search function on their website to compare different hospitals.

Visit the hospital where the procedure will take place, and think about whether you want to choose a hospital near your home − you may not want to travel far after surgery or when you see the surgeon for a follow-up appointment. 

Do not have cosmetic surgery at a hospital which cannot provide evidence that it is registered with the regulator.

Take time to think things through

Having surgery is a big decision, and you should never feel rushed or pressured into giving your consent to have surgery by special offers that are for a limited time only or any discounts in price such as two-for-one deals. Cosmetic surgery should not be offered as a prize. Marketing must be factual, clear and not misleading. Remember, if you feel any pressure from staff or the surgeon, go somewhere else. Take at least two weeks after your consultation to think things through before surgery.

If you have any concerns and want to check whether the advertising or marketing used by a surgeon or hospital is acceptable, you can find out about this on the Committee of Advertising Practice website.

Make sure that you meet with the surgeon who will be carrying out your procedure before the surgery. Read more about the consultation, what to ask your surgeon and what you need to know before you have surgery.



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