03 February 2010

Industry experts are calling for tighter cosmetic surgery laws to help protect patients against undergoing potentially harmful treatments with unqualified practitioners. Many reputable cosmetic surgeons and clinics are calling for tighter regulations on plastic surgery as a way to protect consumers.Speaking to BBC News, Mr Mercer, President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (BAAPS), said: "The cosmetic industry is a branch of medicine and, as such, should not just be about making money." A new form of joint regulation will be launched this year between BAAPS and the Independent Healthcare Advisory Service (IHAS). By signing up to the regulation, cosmetic surgeons can show patients that they are ethical and accredited, helping people to choose a qualified surgeon for procedures such as breast augmentation, liposuction and Botox across the UK. However, it has been pointed out that not all cosmetic surgeons need to sign up to this regulation, as compliance will be strictly voluntary. This is why the organisation has been calling for the introduction of an official regulator, OffCos, to enforce regulations and stop practitioners from taking advantage of lax rules. Laws currently limit cosmetic surgery in countries such as France and Denmark, and may soon be enforced in Mexico and Spain, but the UK is lagging behind in regulating its safety standards and safeguarding the wellbeing of patients. As well as carrying out potentially harmful treatments, unqualified surgeons also frequently fail to provide adequate consultations and patient after-care that are essential to helping people with their cosmetic surgery choices.