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The new cosmetic surgery certification system has now launched which will make the cosmetic surgery industry safer for patients and enhance the reputation of the profession.

A clear set of cosmetic surgery standards is required to instil confidence in a prospective patient that their surgeon has the appropriate training, qualifications and experience to perform their chosen procedure.

Through the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) we have developed a certification system that allows surgeons to demonstrate high professional and clinical standards. Patients and hospitals will be able to search for a certified surgeon on the RCS website. The Care Quality Commission (CQC) will take account of our standards when inspecting and rating services.

Requirements of certification

To apply for certification surgeons must be on the General Medical Council's (GMC) specialist register in a specialty that demonstrates training and experience in the chosen area of practice. Surgeons are able to apply for certification in one or more groups of closely related cosmetic surgical procedures.

To facilitate this we have categorised procedures anatomically into groups of closely related operations. The operations within the groups have overlapping requirements of skills and training. Further information is available in the certification guidelines.

We recognise the high level of surgical training and skill already proven by individuals with a relevant Certificate of Completion of Training (CCT) (or equivalent) and that surgeons will have been introduced to many of the skills and behaviours required to perform cosmetic surgery during surgical training. However, as there are complex issues for cosmetic surgery in the private sector, surgeons will need to provide additional information over and above the CCT (or equivalent) in order to gain certification.

The system builds primarily on existing training and regulatory frameworks and evidence, which are for the most part already collected.

To obtain certification, surgeons will need to provide evidence of the following:

Category Evidence
  •  Registration on the GMC's specialist register in a relevant specialty
Clinical skills and experience
  • Successful revalidation. All doctors are required to bring evidence of their whole practice to all their appraisals. For certification you would need to provide evidence of at least one appraisal that has taken into account your cosmetic practice and to confirm that you will include your cosmetic practice in all your future appraisals
  • Multi-source feedback exercise that took place within the last revalidation cycle, with reflection on results
  • Relevant continuing professional development (CPD) activities
  • Case reviews of complex cases
  • Clinical outcomes in line with the requirements of the Competition and Markets Authority with reflection on results
  • Operative exposure in the area of certification. This involves carrying out a requisite minimum number of procedures in the area of certification.
  • References
  • Scope of work
Professional skills and behaviours

Certification is voluntary, but we expect all eligible surgeons who want to carry out cosmetic surgery in the private sector to certify so they can demonstrate high professional and clinical standards in their area of practice.

How is the evidence assessed?

There is a team of evaluators with representation from each of the relevant surgical organisations. The College will assign an evaluator to each application who will review elements of the evidence submitted and make a decision about awarding certification. A specialty-specific evaluator will review specific pieces of evidence where this is required. To ensure the process is fair, there is a conflicts of interest policy for assigning evaluators to applications. There are also processes for quality assurance and appeals.

What can surgeons do to prepare for certification?

You should:

  • include evidence of your cosmetic practice in your next appraisal discussion;
  • familiarise yourself with yours and your provider’s obligations under the CMA's requirements in relation to information about performance and submit your data in line with local governance arrangements; 
  • ensure that your indemnity insurance covers your cosmetic practice in the UK.

Apply for certification

Surgeons are able to apply for certification by submitting evidence through an online, secure and personalised website (link below). Users will need to register for an RCS account if they do not already have one before being able to apply for certification.

The cost of an application for certification in one or more groups of closely related procedures is £1500. This does not include the mandatory masterclass on professional skills in cosmetic surgery, which will need to be paid for separately. Prices for the masterclass are set by the education provider.

Surgeons are advised to read the certification guidelines in full before starting an application.

Apply for certification

A helpdesk is available to answer any questions
Telephone: 020 7869 6120

Renewal of certification

Renewal of certification will take place approximately every five years, at the point of revalidation. To renew their certification, surgeons will not have to submit the same evidence required for the initial certification, but they will be asked to demonstrate that they contribute information about their cosmetic practice in every annual appraisal discussion and across the types of evidence required for revalidation. They will also need to demonstrate that they continue to comply with Competition and Markets Authority's requirements and that they submit their information to regular audit. There will be a fee to renew certification.

Further information or questions...



Telephone 020 7869 6120 to speak with a member of the project team

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