The Cosmetic Surgery industry is to be hit with strict new rules published by the General Medical Council on 12th April 2016 which are to come into force from June 2016 and are applicable across the United Kingdom.
The Directions which have been published are in relation to the very prominent issue of consent and more generally as a way of tightening up the way those conducting cosmetic surgery go about their business.
The Directions are long awaited and mean that the standards of those conducting cosmetic surgery are now higher than ever.
It is understood that a breach of the new rules may lead to a fitness to practice investigation being carried out against those in breach.
All cosmetic procedures are affected by the new rules both surgical and non-surgical. This could therefore cover anything from botox to a breast augmentation procedure.
The Directions make clear that those providing cosmetic procedures should advertise and market responsibly in relation to their treatments. They have specifically referred to the fact that no irresponsible offers such as 'Buy one Get one Free' or '2 for 1' should be operating under the new rules.
Patients should also be given time to reflect and consider the advice they have been given and should not feel in any way pressured or forced to go ahead with the treatment.
The rules also specify that consent must be obtained by the surgeon who is going to be performing the procedure or operation and under no circumstances can this consent be delegated to another surgeon or junior member or staff.
In addition, it is very important that patients are given informed advice which not only allows them to understand what the procedure entails, but also that gives them information about the benefits and risks of the procedure. They should also be given information about alternatives to their elected procedure if there are any.
The Directions published by the General Medical Council are also supplemented by Professional Standards specifically for cosmetic surgery which have been issued by the Royal College of Surgeons particularly in relation to the issue of consent.
These standards provide specifically that the issue of consent is now to be a two stage process in that not only is consent to be obtained initially but there is then to be at least a 2 week cooling off period in order for the patient to properly consider the advice they have been given. The patient should then be re-consented after this time if they wish to proceed with the treatment/surgery.
At Garratts our Clinical Negligence team provide expert advice on cosmetic surgery negligence. Call our team on 0161 665 3502 to discuss any claim you may have.