As the law stands, newly qualified consultants can walk straight into the operating theatre and perform the full repertoire of cosmetic surgery procedures for anyone who asks. But in a recent survey, both doctors and patients have expressed their dissatisfaction with the status quo – and called for more specialist training for cosmetic surgeons to be made a legal requirement. The poll was conducted on 2,000 women and 500 doctors to coincide with the Clinical Cosmetic and Reconstructive Expo (the UK’s biggest plastic surgery conference), which takes place next month. 93% of the doctors surveyed said that they didn’t feel newly qualified surgeons were of the required standard to provide complex specialist surgeries like facelift and breast enlargement. Even though the law says otherwise, and NHS training is deemed to be sufficient.
Which leaves a vanishingly small one in 14 clinicians who felt things were fine the way they are, and no accredited training was necessary. Three-quarters of the patients surveyed also said they would feel more confident having cosmetic surgery if they knew their surgeon had undertaken further specialist training.
When asked about non-surgical cosmetic treatments, including injectables and laser treatment, both doctors and patients agreed that comprehensive specialist training was necessary. A minority of the doctors surveyed (around a third) thought medical professionals should have a minimum of three months’ training before being allowed to perform laser treatment.
Calls and campaigns to improve standards in the industry seem to be gathering momentum. This poll comes only days after Health Education England (HEE) released the first part of their review into training for non-surgical procedures.
And the organisation Save Face is currently creating a voluntary register of non-surgical cosmetic practitioners who have been thoroughly vetted by doctors before accreditation.
We will keep a close eye on any outcomes arising from this new scrutiny on what has hitherto been a largely unregulated industry. From our point of view as medical professionals, anything that improves patient safety and raises the standard for those entering the cosmetic arena can only be healthy for the industry – and improve its reputation beyond measure.