Government plans rating system for cosmetic surgery clinics

In a bid to crack down on bad practice and raise industry standards, the UK Government has launched plans to introduce a rating system for up to 100 cosmetic surgery clinics in the country.

Clinics would be rated by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) as “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement” or “inadequate”. Consumers could then access these ratings online when researching clinics for a surgical cosmetic procedure. The ratings would be available publically to “name and shame” underperforming clinics.

However, a statement from Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and former president of The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, highlighted that the CQC only regulates clinics themselves and not the surgeons performing procedures on the premises, and so urges consumers to still carry out thorough research into a practitioner before deciding to undergo a procedure.

“It is important to stress that the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulates facilities - that is, clinics rather than clinicians. Their remit entails a facility or practice's aspects such as equipment, record-keeping and administrative areas, so we still call for the public to remain extremely vigilant of; and query; their surgeon's experience and accreditations," he said. 

McGeorge added: "At the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons we welcome - and indeed, have been calling for during the last decade - as much Government scrutiny as is possible of the cosmetic sector. This is an arena where regulation has historically been lax and many practitioners can engage in procedures they are not trained or even qualified to perform.”

Cosmetic surgeon Dr Foued Hamza also spoke out in support of the plans, commenting: “It’s imperative for hospitals and clinics to meet the required high standards from the first admission of the patient until they are discharged. The direct impact of the legislation will probably be hospitals investing in better-qualified and trained staff. This will also contribute to a surge in successful operations and satisfactory experiences for all patients opting for cosmetic surgery. This is the first official step towards putting an end to botched procedures which have come to light due to practitioners who don’t respect the guidelines of this job.”