BAPRAS Statement for BBC Radio 4 You & Yours
Professional standards and patient care are the primary concern of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and we strongly support the need for the protection of individuals who may be targeted by cosmetic surgery advertising.
We agree that the recent rise in mis-selling of cosmetic surgery requires urgent action and should be a key part of tighter regulation of the cosmetic surgery sector overall. We are working as part of the Department of Health’s expert group to achieve this.
However, we do not believe that a complete ban on cosmetic surgery advertising in the UK is the best way to achieve patient protection. Withholding information restricts patient knowledge and ability to make a choice. It could also drive increased numbers of patients overseas and create additional health problems for both individuals and the wider NHS, as is increasingly seen by examples of cosmetic tourism.
In 2005 we worked with the General Medical Council and other organisations, including BAAPS, to develop a Code of Conduct in Cosmetic Surgery that dictates how doctors may advertise cosmetic surgery services. The Independent Healthcare Advisory Services also have their own policies on appropriate advertising of cosmetic surgery and treatments. These form good starting points for patient protection but need to be consistently and rigorously applied to all cosmetic surgery clinics and agencies, and need to be strictly policed with swift action taken against those who break the rules.
Any clinics producing irresponsible examples of advertising or promotional information should be fined or ultimately have their operating licence removed.
We look forward to updating you on our progress.
BAPRAS, the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery, is the voice of plastic surgery in the UK. It aims to increase the understanding of the professional specialty and scope of plastic surgery, promoting innovation in teaching, learning and research.
Founded in 1946 (originally as the British Association of Plastic Surgeons), today BAPRAS has over 800 members and is the professional representative body for reconstructive and aesthetic plastic surgeons providing services to patients on the NHS and privately in the UK. Members of the public can find a member plastic surgeon in their area by logging on to www.bapras.org.uk. Anyone can check the GMC to find out if a surgeon is on the plastic surgery specialist register; http://www.gmc-uk.org/register/search/index.asp
Follow BAPRAS on Twitter at @BAPRASvoice