In light of several high profile cases of poor practice in recent years, the Royal College of Surgeons, in collaboration with the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS), is launching a consultation exercise to consider the introduction of new specialist training for cosmetic surgeons. It is intended that the proposals at the centre of the consultation will raise standards throughout the industry by ensuring that surgeons have sufficient training and expertise to work independently in the private sector.
The cosmetic sector currently lacks stringent regulation and ‘cosmetic doctors’ are often inadequately trained or lack the quality of training received by NHS consultant plastic surgeons. Last year the British Medical Journal reported upon cosmetic surgeon Dr Krishnamurthi Nulliah, who was erased from the medical register in September 2014 by a Fitness to Practise Panel of the Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service for providing sub-standard care to a number of patients, and who put his own commercial interests ahead of his patients’ interests.
The Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons is recommending the introduction of a certification scheme, which will help prospective patients recognise high quality surgical expertise and consequently patient safety. However, concerns remain that the scheme is likely to be voluntary, leaving patients exposed to those surgeons who elect not to subscribe to it. Also, the number of procedures that a surgeon is required to perform annually appears to be fairly arbitrary, penalising those accredited surgeons trying to establish a practice as well as experienced surgeons whose practice may be diversifying or contracting.