Cosmetic surgery: Knowing your rights if something goes wrong

There is a great deal of confusion that surrounds the aesthetic industry and what procedures within it are subject to regulation. As the popularity of cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentation and rhinoplasty, continues to rise in the UK, so too do the number of complaints and the volume of incidents involving risky practices and untrained or inexperienced practitioners.

If you look up ‘cosmetic surgery’ on the internet, the results are crowded with 0% finance deals and 2-4-1 offers, encouraging individuals to commit quickly to potentially life-changing, and life-threatening, procedures. At the same time, the news is littered with tales of celebrities and everyday people who’ve undergone botched surgeries or have had painful reactions to poorly administered Botox or dermal fillers.

There is a great deal of societal pressure, particularly on women - who still have the vast majority of surgeries - to achieve the perfect ‘look’, which can be perpetuated by the likes of social media and the glossy looks provided by filters on Instagram and Snapchat. With this potent combination of the availability, normalisation and affordability of cosmetic procedures, it is perhaps no wonder that demand has boomed.

Unfortunately, the industry has struggled to adapt quickly enough to respond to this burgeoning desire for invasive and non-invasive procedures. This means that the regulation needed to maintain standards of practitioners, in order to safeguard the public, has been lagging behind.

There have been signs of change following the publication of the “Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions” report in 2013, with both the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Surgeons issuing new standards and guidelines to doctors in 2016, to better safeguard patients. Additionally, a number of statutory and voluntary bodies - such as Save Face - have been working to improve public safety and information in this field.

However, the trickle-down effect of implementing change is slow, and many patients are still left unclear, or unaware, as to their legal standing if they experience a botched procedure.

To help, Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors has published a guide: ‘Cosmetic surgery: knowing your rights
if something goes wrong’. The report will:

     Break down the current guidelines for cosmetic surgery
     Explain what is, and what is not, regulated within the industry
     Decipher what regulation means for patients
     Lay out what the legal recourse is for when a cosmetic procedure goes wrong
     Offer guidance on how to safely choose a cosmetic practitioner.

Mike Saul, partner at Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors, says: “With the ongoing rise in reported botched cosmetic procedures, we felt it was important to reach out to those individuals who are struggling to find the help they need or are unsure of where to turn to for guidance."

“The report, Cosmetic surgery: knowing your rights if something goes wrong, sets out all the steps in which you can raise a complaint, report a practitioner who is failing at providing professional care, and seek legal compensation if the issue is unable to be resolved."

“We hope this guide will provide clarity to anyone who finds themselves in the unfortunate position of being at the receiving end of a poorly executed or negligent aesthetic treatment.”

The report is available to read online or download here.

Michael Saul, from Cosmetic Surgery Solicitors


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