Strict new guidelines put in place to protect cosmetic surgery patients

guidance hailed as an important step in "ending the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry" Credit: Wolfram Kastl/DPA/PA Images

ITV News' Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports

Strict new guidelines are being put in to place to protect cosmetic surgery patients and clampdown on rogue surgeons who put profits ahead of clients' health.

It comes as the Royal College of Surgeons said it "will do everything in our powers to protect patients and to stop unscrupulous individuals from practising".

According to the new guidance, issued by the General Medical Council (GMC), a focus will be put on stopping doctors offering patients "two-for-one" deals, promotions and prizes, and cracking down on anyone making "unjustifiable claims" about procedures.

The guidance will cover acceptable practice for surgical and non-surgical procedures such as facelifts, breast implants and Botox, and anyone who fails to adhere to the rules could face being struck off the medical register.

What provisions are included in the new rules?

  • Doctors must make sure patients are given enough time and information before they decide whether to have a procedure and patients should not feel rushed or pressured.

  • A patient's psychological needs must be considered before any procedures are undertaken.

  • Doctors must recognise and work within the limits of their competence.

  • Patients should be given written information about procedures being undertaken.

  • Continuity of care must be provided so patients know who to contact if they experience any complications and full details of any medicines or implants being used must be made readily available.

  • Full and accurate records of consultations should be made.

Why are the new guidelines being issued?

According to medical experts the guidelines are being put in place to help protect patients from potentially poor practice.

Professor Terence Stephenson, chairman of the GMC, said: "Patients considering whether to have such a procedure need honest and straightforward advice which allows them to understand the risks as well as the possible benefits. It is a challenging area of medicine which deals with patients who can be extremely vulnerable.

"Most doctors who practise in this area do so to a high standard but we do sometimes come across poor practice, and it is important that patients are protected from this and that doctors understand what is expected from them."

Health minister Ben Gummer added the guidance was "an important step forward" in improving standards and "ending the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry".