New government proposals will regulate the cosmetic surgery industry, resulting in clinics which are not up to the requisite standard being named publicly.
The Department of Health is addressing the issue following the number of such clinics escalating rapidly in the UK in recent years.
With the intention of ensuring that the industry is appropriately regulated, the Department of Health has announced its intention to engage in an eight-week consultation with the Care Quality Commission over the existing rating system.
The government want the ratings to cover up to 1,000 facilities, including those offering pregnancy termination services and substance misuse advice.
Commenting on the issue, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt asserted that the existing situation is little short of a lottery, and that it is the responsibility of the government to update the approach to cosmetic surgery.
“Anyone who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure should have high quality and safe care – and that’s why we have a tough regulator in place to help people make an informed decision. Our proposals to extend the CQC’s powers to rate more providers are an important step forward in improving standards and will help to end the lottery of poor practice in parts of the cosmetic industry.”
The proposals also involve rating independent community health providers, ambulance services and dialysis units, with 100 cosmetic surgery clinics among the providers who would be rated.
Already the Care Quality Commission has assessed over 10,000 providers in the two years since existing procedures were initiated, but this has been typically focused on the aspects of the healthcare system which receive the largest numbers of patients.
Thus, NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, GP practices, adult social care providers and independent hospitals have been the focus of the Care Quality Commission assessment, but the net will now be spread wider in an attempt to improve the entire healthcare system holistically.
Although the Care Quality Commission already inspect clinics specialising in cosmetic surgery, they are not rated on the typical CQC scale, ranging from outstanding to inadequate.
And none of the results of such inspections published online, as is the case with hospitals and GP surgeries.
Officials believe extending the scheme is a necessary step towards improving safety and informed choice, after high profile scares such as the PIP breast implant scandal in 2012.
51,000 Britons engaged in cosmetic surgery in 2015; a 13% increase over the previous calendar year.
It is clear as the society becomes more image-conscious that these figures are only likely to increase still further, and thus it is essential for cosmetic surgery to be as effectively regulated as other aspects of the healthcare system.