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Proposals to regulate cosmetic surgery will not protect the public

Government proposals for regulating cosmetic surgery in the United Kingdom would permit unqualified surgeons to remain in practice, according to an editorial in this weeks BMJ.

The proposals demand only that surgeons be medically qualified and have attended some postgraduate courses, despite unanimous advice from the profession on the importance of training and continuing medical education in aesthetic surgery, argues Clive Orton, President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

Cosmetic surgery has become a growth industry and a public obsession. Many patients do not seek a referral from their general practitioner because they fear an unsympathetic response or they feel that cosmetic surgery is not fundamentally medical. Self referral to a clinic is an easier option.

The public would be better protected if they consulted their general practitioner first, but it is likely that the number of self referrals will increase rather than decrease, says the author.

Public education through the professional bodies is important, but in the face of increased public demand, glossy advertising, and inadequate regulation, only the most sanguine optimist can believe that the situation has been controlled adequately, he concludes.


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Contact: Emma Wilkinson
ewilkinson@bmj.com
44-20-7383-6529
BMJ-British Medical Journal
23-May-2002


Page: 1

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