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Surgeons offer clear-cut solution to 'Fly-In-Fly-Out' problem

Cut out middlemen, secure proper cover and ensure standards says the BAAPS

With increasing reports of patients experiencing problems trying to track down and secure compensation from surgeons who ‘fly in, fly out’ (ie are not permanently based in the UK), the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (, today presents a clear-cut and cost-neutral solution. The scale of the problem is hard to estimate, they say, as many surgeons from abroad do not have indemnity policies based in this country.

According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Rajiv Grover;

“There is a straightforward way of dealing with the lack of clarity that exists regarding which surgeons, from where, are doing what and how much in this country; and we have submitted a simple, three-fold solution to the Government:

  • Informed consent: stipulating that consultations must only be held with the surgeon who is ultimately performing the operation will immediately cut down on a large number of ‘fly-in-fly-out’ practitioners that depend on UK-based sales advisors and middlemen to recruit patients for them. It would simply become unfeasible to be travelling back-and-forth so often.
  • Insurance cover: it is essential that all surgeons are insured by either companies based in the UK or by policies that provide equivalent cover to British ones. They must specifically, unambiguously state that they cover work performed, as well as any costs should a legal case arise, in the UK.
  • Equivalent standards: since December 2012 it has become a requirement for all doctors to be appraised and revalidated by the General Medical Council. This means that the regulatory body will ensure that standards are still being met – and skills are maintained – on an annual basis regardless of how long, or where, training and qualifications were initially attained. At the moment, if a doctor or surgeon is recognised as a specialist in their own country, they are automatically eligible to be listed in the UK’s Specialist Register as well. It would be best practice if all doctors coming from abroad had to undergo the equivalent of revalidation when they receive their GMC registration, which allows them to work in the UK.

These measures do not, in any shape or form, imply that standards are lesser in other countries. Personally, I wouldn’t feel comfortable travelling regularly to Germany or France to operate without fully knowing that my insurance would cover me should something go wrong, or whether I meet the standards required in those countries. We are only proposing that practitioners from abroad be held to the same guidelines as UK-based ones: we must all prove our competency.

This approach is a cost-neutral way of establishing proper informed consent, proper insurance cover, and proper standards for the benefit of all patients.”


The BAAPS (, based at the Royal College of Surgeons, is a not-for-profit organisation, established for the advancement of education and practice of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for public benefit. Members undergo thorough background screening before they can join. Information about specific procedures and surgeons’ contact details can be found on the website, or by contacting their office at 020 7430 1840. Further materials can be posted to members of the public seeking specialised information. BAAPS is also on Twitter: and Facebook:

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