Review of cosmetic surgery launched

A major review into cosmetic surgery is being launched in light of the PIP scandal.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, who will lead the inquiry, said he fears many people do not realise such procedures can have lifelong implications.

The review was requested by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley after concerns about cosmetic surgery were raised following the public outcry over faulty PIP breast implants and could lead to tighter regulation of the industry.

Sir Bruce said: "The recent problems with PIP breast implants have shone a light on the cosmetic surgery industry. Many questions have been raised, particularly around the regulation of clinics, whether all practitioners are adequately qualified, how well people are advised when money is changing hands, aggressive marketing techniques, and what protection is available when things go wrong... That's why I have put together this review committee to advise me in making recommendations to Government on how we can better protect people who choose to have surgery or cosmetic interventions."

An expert panel, including PIP campaigner Catherine Kydd, former medical director of Bupa Andrew Vallance-Owen and editor of Marie Claire magazine Trish Halpin, will gather evidence before making recommendations to the Government next March. Members of the public are also being asked to share their experiences of cosmetic surgery and views on issues including the safety of products used in such procedures, care during and after treatment, and how much advice is given to those considering surgery.

Mr Lansley has specifically asked the review to consider implementing a national implant register, for products such as breast implants, to identify all those who received the product and details of their operation.

Fazel Fatah, president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said: "We are delighted that the review is now under way. The BAAPS has been campaigning for many years for better regulations of the cosmetic surgery sector to protect patients. The BAAPS will fully co-operate with the process at all its stages as we would like to ensure a positive outcome from the review that provides safety and security for patients who choose to have cosmetic surgery, and to end unethical practices of patient inducements on the basis of cost."

Sir Bruce later said there was a "cacophony of concern" about "grubby practices" in the cosmetic surgery industry.

He told BBC Breakfast: "There are people who are concerned about the regulation, there are people who are very concerned about the qualifications of those who are conducting, in the dark recesses of the cosmetic industry, procedures that they are not qualified to do.

"I don't want anybody to get the impression that the cosmetic surgery industry is all tarred with one particular brush. There are parts of it that are run extremely well, very ethically with very, very high standards. There are, sadly though, some parts where there are some pretty grubby practices going on and that's why we're having the review."