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Changes to cosmetic surgery

6 November 2015
  • Public

From next spring, cosmetic surgeons will be able to apply to the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) to become registered as qualified and competent to perform specific procedures.

It will enable surgeons working in the independent sector to demonstrate they meet the right standards and have the right experience to perform cosmetic surgery.

Cosmetic surgery is not a defined surgical speciality and there are currently no common standards available to surgeons who perform it. 

Commenting on the RCS certification for cosmetic surgeons, Heidi Smoult, our Deputy Chief Inspector for Hospitals, said:

"The certification is a sensible step to make the cosmetic surgery sector more transparent and to encourage improvement within the sector.

"People will be able to look at the CQC's own ratings of independent services that carry out cosmetic surgery alongside the RCS register of accredited surgeons that meet the required standards.

"Any information that protects people and helps them to choose their care is welcome.

"During an inspection, CQC will take account of the RCS standards and certification system and use this information when making a judgement about the quality and safety of services being provided."

How we regulate cosmetic surgery

All independent clinics and hospitals that provide cosmetic surgery must be registered with us to provide services.

We regulate cosmetic treatments that involve any instrument or equipment (such as an implant) being inserted into the body. This covers procedures such as breast enlargements, laser eye surgery, nose surgery and facelifts.

We do not regulate procedures that do not involve a cut to the body or if there is no equipment inserted. This includes procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers, chemical peels or laser hair removal.

Last updated:
28 March 2019