Doctors are still treating patients in cosmetic surgery clinics despite having been struck off the medical register.

An investigation conducted by The Sunday Times has found that regulatory failures in cosmetic surgery enable ‘cowboy’ doctors to treat patients, even if they have been deemed unsafe or have not been properly trained.

In one case, Petrus Jooste, a South African doctor who lives in Exeter, was suspended by the General Medical Council (GMC) in October 2009 for performing cosmetic surgery in people’s homes.

The GMC said this risked patient safety, while the patients themselves were not being warned of the risks involved. Furthermore Mr Jooste has not trained as a plastic surgeon, although legally this does not prevent him from conducting cosmetic surgery procedures.

Despite being suspended, he continued to treat patients, performing hundreds of liposuction procedures in patients’ homes. He admitted as much, saying: “I can do anything the client consents to do.”

“Since I have been suspended by the GMC in October 2009 I have probably treated about 200 to 300 patients at home with liposuction. In the last year, probably 50 or so.”

In a similar case, David Waghorn was struck off the medical register in March last year. According to the GMC he had been performing cosmetic surgery in a London basement where the work surfaces were covered with needles and blood.

In September 2014 a local newspaper reported he was still operating on patients, although Mr Waghorn would neither confirm nor deny this allegation.

UK is “unregulated”

Reza Nassab, a respected plastic surgeon, has said the public is not given enough information about the risks of surgery, or the credentials of those conducting procedures.

He has also raised concerns that doctors untrained in surgery and not on the GMC register can practice cosmetic surgery, while non-medical staff can perform procedures such as injecting dermal fillers.

“It’s very unregulated in the UK. There’s nothing to stop anybody setting up a clinic and doing a range of procedures”, he said.

Michael Cadier, president of the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), reiterated these comments, saying “the UK is the Wild West of cosmetic surgery.”

Plastic surgery negligence

If you have suffered at the hands of a plastic surgeon, please get in touch with us to discuss the possibility of a compensation claim.

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