Mercury Legal is supporting a call from The Royal College of Surgeons that a new system be introduced to prevent surgeons from performing cosmetic surgery procedures outside their speciality.
The body, which said current rules are “a big problem” for patients, allowing “GPs to do nose jobs” amongst other things, wants a new system to be put in place that will ensure all operating surgeons are certified to perform a procedure.
Bodies representing aesthetic plastic surgeons, including the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps), have spoken of their support for the idea but said that it needs to be “mandatory and policed” if it is to help patients.
Rajiv Grover, a Baaps spokesman and former president, said: “This will only protect the public if the recommendations are mandatory and policed.
“It is essential that the public know who to go to when seeking a qualified cosmetic surgeon, but also, to be assured that the quality of their outcome will meet accepted standards, and particularly to meet their own expectations.”
However, the certificate system will initially be voluntary.
Fiona Tinsley, Medical Negligence Solicitor at Mercury Legal who has dealt with a large number of cases of cosmetic surgery negligence, said that although she is fully behind the idea, she also believes the proposed system doesn’t go far enough.
“For this system to work, I really think it needs to be mandatory,” Fiona said.
“I am 100% behind the college in its call for change and I’m pleased to see that the idea is also being backed by the key bodies which represent aesthetic plastic surgeons, but if this system is to accurately represent the industry as a whole we really need every plastic surgeon and cosmetic surgeon to be involved.”
The college launched a consultation on ways of cleaning up the industry, which has been under intense scrutiny since the much-documented Poly Implant Prothese (PIP) implants scandal, which saw thousands of women fitted with sub-standard breast implants.
This latest idea will mean that to administer a procedure, doctors would need to be a proven specialist in their chosen field, providing sufficient evidence of their success rates.
Speaking to the BBC News website, Stephen Cannon, the vice-president of the College, said: “Operating outside of speciality is a big problem in private practice as money is involved, so we hope to rectify that.
“There will be no concerns if you’re already an established surgeon doing extremely well.
“But it’ll stop the general practitioner doing the nose job, it’ll stop the dermatologist lifting someone’s breasts, it’ll stop all that cowboy behaviour which goes on.”