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New professional standards in cosmetic surgery

by Andrew Vallance-Owen

12/04/2016
PHIN's Chairman Andrew Vallance-Owen welcomes new professional standards in cosmetic surgery from the Royal College of Surgeons.

Today the Royal College of Surgeons published their Professional Standards for Cosmetic Surgery. These are intended to improve patient safety by stipulating the ethics and behaviours expected of surgeons undertaking cosmetic surgery. They sit alongside and complement new guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC) for all doctors who carry out cosmetic interventions - including non-surgical procedures. There has been a great deal of professional consultation on these documents and I very much welcomes their publication.

I was the member representing the independent sector in both the Keogh Reviews in 2012-13 - firstly the Expert Group on PIP Breast Implants, then the Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions. Both were concerned about professional standards in this area, so it was absolutely right that the College should promote best practice as the guardian of professional standards in surgery in England. Having sat on the College's Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee, I also support the College's call today for the Government to give these standards legal status.

When considering the important work PHIN is currently undertaking, I believe that the standards announced today can only be viewed as a positive and necessary step. A strong set of professional standards sits hand in hand with the increased transparency brought about by the publishing is performance measures by PHIN.

PHIN has been working closely with the College's Interspecialty Committee to assist with the practical implementation of some other the other Keogh recommendations, particularly that there should be better data collection from the cosmetic surgery sector. We worked with the College to agree which tools to use and settled on Q-PROMs. Patient reported outcomes (PROMs) are one of the most effective measures of value and quality within healthcare, and their use within cosmetic surgery will not only allow PHIN to produce helpful and accessible information for patients, but also allow providers to assess the value of their services and drive improvements.

We have had an excellent working relationship with the College and recognise their leadership will lead to the private sector being the first to extend the use of PROMs beyond the current National PROMs Programme. We look forward to continued collaboration as we seek to increase transparency and drive improvements in privately funded healthcare.

Visit the Royal College of Surgeons website to read their press release and the