New cosmetic rules are too weak, say surgeons

New cosmetic rules are too weak, say surgeons


Cosmetic surgeons have condemned the Department of Health’s lack of action on cosmetic procedures saying that the decision not to classify dermal fillers as prescription only and to set up a compulsory register for practitioners was a missed opportunity.


A review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions by the medical director of the NHS in England, Sir Bruce Keogh, warned fillers could cause lasting harm and recommended that they should become prescription only because currently fillers are covered only by the same level of safety regulation as household products.


However, in its response to the review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions the government said that while it will become illegal to offer dermal fillers without training, dermal fillers will not be reclassified as medicines. Health Education England will review training for dermal fillers and Botox injections and legislation will be introduced to make it illegal to offer such procedures without training. Anyone offering fillers will have to so under a named doctor or nurse.


Rajiv Grover, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said: “Frankly, we are no less than appalled at the lack of action taken.


“With all the evidence provided by the clinical community, choosing not to reclassify fillers as medicines with immediate effect or setting up any kind of compulsory register beggars belief. Legislators have clearly been paying only lip service to the sector's dire warnings that dermal fillers are a crisis waiting to happen. Most shockingly of all, the fact that there is no requirement for the actual surgeon involved to provide consent for the procedure makes a mockery of the entire process."


A recent survey by the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons revealed that as many as two out of three surgeons were seeing patients presenting with facial injectable (‘dermal filler’) complications. Nearly nine out of ten of those with permanent fillers required corrective surgery or were inoperable.


Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said of the government’s response to the review of the regulation of cosmetic interventions: “We are delighted that the government is taking this forward. This is a significant area of medical practice which has grown enormously in recent years. We need to make sure patients are protected and that doctors and others undertaking cosmetic procedures have the training and skills needed to undertake this work.


“We have already tightened up our guidance for doctors prescribing Botox and other injectables, and we welcome the fact that the government has accepted the recommendation we made to the Keogh Review that only doctors on the GMC’s specialist register should be able to perform cosmetic surgery.”


By Ingrid Torjesen


On Medica, the 14th of February, 2014.


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