Doctors should only be able to perform cosmetic surgery if they specialise in that area of medicine, says the Royal College of Surgeons.

The plastic surgery industry has come under intense criticism lately, with ministers recently describing it as a “cowboy industry”.

There are particular concerns about non-specialist medical professionals performing procedures.

The lack of regulations means that practitioners untrained in surgery can offer cosmetic treatment, while people with no medical training whatsoever can undertake procedures such as dermal fillers.

Certificate system

The Royal College of Surgeons has now launched a consultation on how to regulate the industry.

A register of certified surgeons has been one suggestion. This would be made available to the public, helping them to establish whether a surgeon is a specialist in their field.

Stephen Cannon, vice-president of the Royal College of Surgeons, said: “Operating outside of speciality is a big problem in private practice as money is involved, so we hope to rectify that.”

“There will be no concerns if you’re already an established surgeon doing extremely well. But it’ll stop the general practitioner doing the nose job, it’ll stop the dermatologist lifting someone’s breasts, it’ll stop all that cowboy behaviour which goes on.”

However, doctors must volunteer to add their names to the certificate system. Rajiv Grover, a BAAPs spokesperson, said this is not sufficient: “This will only protect the public if the recommendations are mandatory and policed”, he said.

“It is essential that the public know who to go to when seeking a qualified cosmetic surgeon, but also, to be assured that the quality of their outcome will meet accepted standards, and particularly to meet their own expectations.”

Substandard cosmetic surgery

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