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BAAPS Statement on GMC’s ‘Cooling Off’ Guidelines

According to Rajiv Grover, Consultant plastic surgeon and former President of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons:

"The BAAPS welcomes the GMC's announcement that they are urging caution so that patients are given time before deciding to have cosmetic surgery. This is something the BAAPS has campaigned for strongly over the last decade. Cosmetic surgery has for too long been seen as a commodity but unfortunately once an operation is done – it can’t be taken back to the shop! A survey of BAAPS surgeons in the UK found that 35% of patients presenting for cosmetic surgery are in fact unsuitable for an operation, so it is essential that all patients think carefully before making a decision. 

The current guidance from the GMC suggests a minimum cooling off period of two weeks and this is something the BAAPS has insisted on for the past 15 years along with encouraging a second consultation with the surgeon before any decision is made. Unfortunately it is not always obvious, even to a cautious surgeon, which patients are psychologically unsuitable for surgery and to address this specific area the BAAPS has funded a major research project channelled through the National Institute of Aesthetic Research (NIAR) to develop a screening tool so that patients who should not have surgery, because their expectations will not be met, can be cautioned against treatment at the initial consultation. 

In tandem with any guidance on when surgery should be considered it is imperative to look carefully at advertising in the cosmetic sector. Adverts which glamourize surgery clearly cloud a patient’s judgement prior to making such an important decision. The BAAPS has been calling for an outright ban on cosmetic surgery advertising in order to avoid inducing patients to have surgery in the same way that there is a ban on advertising prescription medicines in the UK."


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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