Healthy living

Beware of 'have-a-go' cosmetic surgeons

Beware of  have-a-go  cosmetic surgeons 4 out of 5 centres 'inadequate'

Too many cosmetic surgery firms are poorly equipped, unregulated and staffed by surgeons lacking the appropriate skill set for the job, according to a damning report out today.

Fewer than half of operating theatres are properly equipped to perform surgery, experts said, while one in five had no emergency re-admissions policy following an operation and relied on the NHS to deal with any complications following surgery.

The report by the National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) also found that four out of five clinics offering complex surgery do not perform the surgical procedures often enough to maintain their skills.

More than half of centres offering breast reduction and one in five offering breast enhancement, perform fewer than 10 such operations a year.

If that hardly inspires confidence, the figures are likely to be an underestimate as nearly 70 per cent of clinics approached refused to take part in the study. Somewhat ominously, one in ten clinics ceased to exist between being identified and being approached to take part.

The report also revealed that a third of clinics don't offer a"'cooling off"period to allow patients to consider the pros and cons of the treatment, and more than one in five didn't have a member of resuscitation staff on duty at all times.

Nigel Mercer, consultant plastic surgeon and President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) said he was not surprised by the report findings.

"Aesthetic surgery needs to be recognised as the multi-million pound speciality it is and not just a fragmented ‘cottage industry,’ he said.

"Just as someone eating in a restaurant wouldn’t have to personally inspect the kitchen, the public should have the right to expect providers of aesthetic surgery to be properly overseen and regulated on their behalf by our Government.

“The fact that some providers perform some procedures only occasionally demonstrates that, even now, some surgeons are prepared to ‘have a go’ when they’re clearly not competent enough – at the cost of the patient’s safety.

A coroner stated recently that aesthetic surgery should be primarily about safety and not just about what you (the surgeon and patient) can ‘get way with'! ”

This article was published on Thu 16 September 2010

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