Rein in the cosmetic surgery cowboys: NHS chief calls for new laws to overhaul 2.3bn industry and protect patients
Review by Sir Bruce Keogh warns of lack of controls on certain proceduresHis report has said the practice was a 'crisis waiting to happen'Review calls for compulsory registration and better training in industryAlso demands banning 'distasteful' cut-price deals and offersCelebrity culture's 'hidden advertising' said to 'trivialise' procedures

Fiona Macrae


23:09 GMT, 23 April 2013



08:51 GMT, 24 April 2013

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is calling for new laws to overhaul the booming 2.3billion cosmetic surgery sector

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is calling for new laws to overhaul the booming 2.3billion cosmetic surgery sector

Patients turning to cosmetic surgery must be protected from cowboy surgeons and dangerous treatments, said the head of the NHS.

Medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is calling for new laws to overhaul the booming 2.3billion sector, with the first as early as next year.

One procedure singled out for criticism was the use of fillers, which have soared in popularity.

These injections plump up the skin, fill in wrinkles and crow’s feet to create younger-looking cheeks and lips.

A review led by Sir Bruce warned that filler jabs were subject to ‘no more controls than a bottle of floor cleaner’. Some patients suffered disfigurement, bruising and blindness.

‘The most striking thing is that anybody, at any time, anywhere, can give a filler to anybody else and that’s bizarre,’ said Sir Bruce.

His report said the practice was a ‘crisis waiting to happen’.

Dr Andrew Vallance-Owen, who sat on the review, said: ‘We want proper professional requirements. This is not “inject oranges and get a certificate”. This is proper training.’

The committee also called for a crackdown on the ‘hidden advertising’ of plastic surgery, including TV shows such as The Only Way is Essex which ‘trivialise’ the procedures.

Amy Childs attends The Phillips British Academy Awards 2011

British celebrity Katie Price poses for a photograph during the media

Celebrity culture: Health officials say programmes such as The Only way is Essex (pictured left, Amy Childs) had turned cosmetic surgery into an 'everyday product'. Model Katie Price (right) has had many procedures

A register of breast implant patients must be set up within the next 12 months, it added. This follows the PIP scandal in which thousands of women were given sub-standard products.

The key demands of the review are:

Compulsory registration and better training of all those in the industry, from beauty therapists to breast surgeons.Banning ‘distasteful’ cut-price deals, buy-one-get one-free offers and plastic surgery competition prizes.Insurance for clinics, a cooling off period and information for patients about the success rates of surgeons.Facial fillers to be prescription only.

Former glamour model Alicia Douvall, who has had 308 cosmetic treatments, believes there should be tighter regulation in the industry

Sir Bruce said: ‘At the heart of this report is the person who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure.We have heard terrible reports about a person who has trusted a cosmetic practitioner but, when things have gone wrong, have been left high and dry. These people have not had the safety net that those using the NHS have. This needs to change.’

His report said the rules have been outstripped by the booming sector, which increased five-fold in value from 2005-2010 to 2.3billion.

Pat Dunion, of Transform, Britain’s biggest plastic surgery group, said the cost of training and registration would force some cowboy clinics to close.

The Royal College of Surgeons called on ministers to implement the proposals ‘without delay’.

Rajiv Grover, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, said making fillers prescription-only would regulate which ones come onto the market, who can inject them and ban their advertising.

Condemned, the Towie effect