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A surgeon by any other name would (not) cut as sweet

Public has been cheated and endangered for too long by false claims, say surgeons

London – 15 July, 2012 – The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons ( ) today warns that the public has been swindled for too long and backs calls for the term ‘surgeon’ to be legally protected.
The BAAPS joins the Royal College of Surgeons in carving a line in the sand, demanding the Government restrict the use of the term ‘surgeon’ only to qualified medical doctors who have undertaken post-graduate surgical training. A poll by the Patient Group at the RCS reveals that only just slightly over a quarter of patients (27%) check their provider’s qualifications before undergoing an operation, a situation that is particularly worrying in the field of aesthetic (‘cosmetic’) plastic surgery.
According to consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS President Fazel Fatah;
“The public has been misled and cheated for too long by practitioners falsely claiming to be surgeons, without having the training and the qualifications required. This issue is at the very centre of patient protection and the public deserve the peace of mind that doctors who carry out surgery are qualified and trained for that purpose. The GMC should tighten regulations around this so that doctors who are not qualified as surgeons are only be able to carry out surgical procedures under the direct supervision of those who are certified - either as part of surgical training or of service provision.”
Consultant plastic surgeon and former BAAPS President Nigel Mercer was involved in drafting new EU standards which will help define the procedures that qualify as ‘surgery’ and only to be performed by surgeons. He says;
“There is currently no defined specialty of cosmetic or aesthetic surgery, so legally defining the term ‘surgeon’ is at least a positive first step in preventing untrained and unqualified practitioners performing procedures that can put patients at risk - we fully support this call for action. It has also been our hope to eventually be able to protect the term 'Plastic' Surgeon."
A study unveiled at the BAAPS 2011 Scientific Meeting, which evaluated the top cosmetic surgery websites, revealed that well over a third (36%) of providers didn’t include any mention of qualifications, were not on the specialist register or even listed on the GMC at all, i.e., not licensed to practice medicine in the UK.
Members of the BAAPS have helped draft a set of proposed standards for cosmetic surgery, to be implemented across the EU. The document contains a number of radical measures to clean up the ‘Wild West’ environment surrounding aesthetic treatments, including and end to financial incentives such as discounts, vouchers and BOGOFs to promote surgery. The proposals define just medical doctors – not dentists or nurses – as suitable providers of these services, and only specialists recognised by official bodies who can prove competency via training, exams and audits, able to offer major surgical procedures such as breast augmentation, tummy tucks and nose jobs.

About the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons
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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