Calls for tighter rules on Scottish comestic surgery clinics

Cosmetic surgeons backed new regulations for the sector. Picture: BBC
Cosmetic surgeons backed new regulations for the sector. Picture: BBC
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Cosmetic surgery industry bosses say a tough new inspection regime is needed for the sector in Scotland amid concerns that “untrained and unregulated” practitioners 
are putting patients at risk.

MSPs were warned that cosmetic surgery can have “disastrous results – leading to facial scarring and disfigurement” where procedures are not carried out properly or by those not qualified to do so.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) has backed a new Scottish Government regulatory regime, telling Holyrood’s health committee that “without this patients safety cannot be guaranteed”.

In a submission to the MSPs, BAAPS said the tighter regulations were needed due to fears that expensive cosmetic surgery could lead to some patients seeking treatment in unregulated areas like beauty salons rather than in clinics. However, BAAPS said there was still a risk that cosmetic surgery could potentially be carried out where “non health care practitioners are working within independent clinics”.

In a submission due to be considered by MSPs today, BAAPS said that “the evidence that patient safety is being compromised by untrained and unregulated practitioners is largely anecdotal”.

However, backing stricter rules governing cosmetic surgery, it added: “Further regulation will be required to capture this subgroup to ensure that safe practice is being undertaken and that patient safety is not being compromised.”

Regulation of private clinics carrying out cosmetic operations, with new rules for inspections, minimum training standards and complaints procedures, are due to come into force April

BAAPS added: “The concern that the costs will drive patients to seek treatments in unregulated areas such as beauty salons highlights the need for additional regulation.”

Labour MSP Jenny Marra, welcoming the intervention from BAAPS, said: “We should take whatever steps we can to prevent mistakes in cosmetic surgery.”

Public health minister Maureen Watt added: “There are many reputable practitioners in Scotland, but unfortunately there are others who do not live up to those high standards. That can lead to complications after procedures, sometimes leaving the customer with lasting injuries. By introducing a sound system of regulation and inspection we hope to reduce those instances.”