In 2016, new cosmetic surgery guidelines were introduced by the General Medical Council (GMC) in an attempt to further regulate the cosmetic surgery industry.
The first thing to note is that many of the guidelines are already reflected in the work that reputable cosmetic surgery practitioners already perform. The guidelines, as published in the Keogh report, are as follows:
- Ensure that advertising is ethical and that patients are not ‘lured in’ with promotions that appear too good to be true
- Never pressurise patients into having surgery. The decision to opt for any form of cosmetic surgery needs to be wholly that of the patient, with no external pressures.
- Ensure that consent is clearly given and recorded, with the patient fully informed as to what they are consenting to, and with a clear understanding of the risks and benefits of their chosen procedure(s).
Cosmetic surgery guidelines welcomed by professional bodies
The Royal College of Surgeons, the professional body that regulates the cosmetic surgery industry, welcomes these guidelines but is keen to push this even further. The Royal College is advocating that surgeons opt for voluntary accreditation to give consumers even greater peace of mind in the surgeon that they have chosen. This isn’t currently part of official legislation, but the College hopes that it will be in the future, and surgeons such as Mr Alan Park welcome changes such as this.
As part of the initiatives introduced by the Royal College of Surgeons, cosmetic surgeons should be keeping detailed, accurate records of the patient journey and should have watertight procedures in place to ensure that consent is fully understood and given in an appropriate manner.
Putting guidelines into practice
These practices form the backbone of what you can expect from surgeons such as Mr Alan Park, who is not only a member of the Royal College of Surgeons but also the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS). His accreditations and ways of working are clearly outlined on his website, so that patients can read around and gain realistic expectations of what to expect from their experience at all stages along the way, from consultation to procedure and aftercare.