New cosmetic surgery guidelines in the UK

  • Patients to make the best decision about the procedure they are considering, and to choose the right surgeon and hospital for them.
  • Surgeons to demonstrate the quality of care they offer while also helping them to review outcomes and, where necessary, improve practice.
  • Providers of cosmetic surgery to assess the quality and safety of their services.
  • Regulators, who make sure that people are provided with safe, effective and high quality care.

Most surgeons who perform cosmetic surgery provide good care to their patients. But the Keogh Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions in 2013 highlighted a need for robust regulation of cosmetic practice and made recommendations to address the problems identified.

Through the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee (CSIC) the RCS has been working with patients, surgical professional associations, healthcare organisations, regulators, government departments and providers to address the recommendations about cosmetic surgery.

The recommendations can be divided into:

  • Developing standard patient information.
  • Identifying clinical outcome measures.
  • Setting standards for training and practice on ethical issues.
  • Establishing a system of certification.

Cosmetic surgery is rarely available through the NHS, primarily taking place in the private sector. There must be overriding physical or psychological reasons for considering it as a treatment option on the NHS.

The scope of does not include non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox, dermal fillers and chemical peels. Health Education England has been leading the programme of work related to non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

The Royal College of Surgeons of England is a professional membership organisation representing surgeons in the UK and abroad.