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New GMC Regulations

In a bid to crack down on clinics that prioritise “profits over patients”, the General Medical Council (GMC) has outlined a series of new cosmetic procedural guidelines.

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These measures include the banning of promotional offers around cosmetic surgery, and ensuring that surgeons make clear to patients the risks of cosmetic surgeries beforehand, along with what to do in the event of any complications. Responsible advertising, along with issues of consent and transparency, are at the heart of the GMC’s new measures. Furthermore, the guidelines – which were developed in a response to an industry-wide review carried out in 2013 – also support that patients should not be coerced, convinced or rushed into having cosmetic surgery. Both surgical procedures such as face-lifts and breast implants, and non-surgical procedures like dermal fillers, will be covered under the new guidelines.

The changes, which will apply to private practices and NHS practitioners, will come into effect in June 2016.

Consultant ophthalmic surgeon and lecturer Valerie Saw:

"The majority of cosmetic surgery procedures are carried out to a very high standard, by well qualified surgeons and practitioners. These guidelines are a positive step towards ensuring that all patients are cared for according to appropriate professional standards and codes of practice."

What does this mean for private practices?

The move from the GMC demonstrates a clear commitment to supporting and understanding the field of private cosmetic surgery, something that will prove to be beneficial in the long run.

These new rules also ultimately benefit patients considering undergoing a cosmetic surgery, as due diligence and a responsibility towards patient care are at the heart of all the new guidelines. Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the GMC, commented: “Our new guidance is designed to help drive up standards in the cosmetic industry and make sure all patients, and especially those who are most vulnerable, are given the care, treatment and support they need.”

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