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CQC welcomes new standards for cosmetic surgery

19 April 2016
  • Public

The Royal College of Surgeons (RCS) has published new Professional Standards for Cosmetic Surgery, which set out the standards of good practice expected of all surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery. The guidance addresses key areas of risk such as communication, consent and professional behaviours, and is intended to improve patient safety and standards of care.

The RCS has been working with the General Medical Council (GMC), which has published its own set of professional standards for doctors carrying out cosmetic procedures to make sure they too provide the best possible care for patients. The GMC standards will come into force in June 2016 and will make clear the ethical obligations that doctors have towards patients.

CQC will take the RCS and GMC standards into account during our inspections and when making a judgement about the quality and safety of services being provided.

This will include taking into account whether registered providers have implemented effective systems so that:

  • Surgeons performing cosmetic surgery are skilled and experienced in the area in which they practise.
  • The operating surgeon leads the consultation with the patient to ensure they are fully informed and to outline the risks of the procedure, the likely outcome and provide the information that will help them decide whether or not to undergo surgery.
  • The operating surgeon is the person who will obtain written consent from the patient. It will not be delegated to a colleague or other person.
  • Consent is obtained in a two-stage process with a cooling-off period of at least two weeks between the stages to allow the patient to reflect on the decision.
  • Appropriate indemnity insurance is in place to cover the procedures being undertaken.
  • Financial inducements such as time-limited offers and discounts are not used or promoted.

CQC has previously acknowledged the RCS Cosmetic Surgery Certification as a sensible step to make the cosmetic surgery sector more transparent and encourage improvement among providers.

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.

Read more about how we inspect and regulate NHS and independent hospitals, as well as clinics that provide cosmetic surgery.

Last updated:
29 May 2017