1. How to choose a cosmetic surgery

With so many cosmetic surgery providers to choose from, you’ll need to create a shortlist of hospitals and clinics. If the cosmetic treatment you are considering involves an operation, then doing this based on factual information is particularly important.

Do your search properly

Having narrowed down your options, you may want to visit potential providers, or call them before attending a consultation with a cosmetic surgeon.

Check they’re registered with the Care Quality Commission

In accordance with the Care Quality Commission (Registration) Regulations 2009 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2010, all hospitals and clinics in England providing cosmetic surgery are regulated by the Care Quality Commission, and are inspected regularly against the Essential Standards of Quality and Safety set by the Care Quality Commission.

The Essential Standards are designed to ensure that you can expect:

  • to be involved and told what’s happening at every stage of your care
  • care, treatment and support that meet your needs
  • to be safe
  • to be cared for by qualified staff
  • your care provider to constantly check the quality of its services

The Essential Standards aim to provide assurances about the quality of treatment and services that patients receive. The registered manager of the hospital or clinic is responsible for ensuring that Essential Standards are maintained and the Care Quality Commission has the power to close premises that do not meet these standards.

You can check the registration details of a hospital or clinic on the Care Quality Commission website.

If you are in any doubt about a hospital or clinic’s standards or capability, you should ask to see a copy of its latest Care Quality Commission inspection report. The registered manager of the hospital or clinic should be able to provide this, or you can obtain it from the Care Quality Commission.

Independent Healthcare Advisory Services

The Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS) is a membership organisation representing many of the UK’s independent hospitals and hospital groups.

IHAS, in conjunction with the Cosmetic Surgery Interspeciality Committee, has produced a booklet, ‘Good Medical Practice in Cosmetic Surgery’, to support and complement the General Medical Council (GMC) code for good medical practice.

IHAS also operates a comprehensive complaints code for handling patient complaints. Read more at the IHAS website.

Do I need to see my GP first?

You’ll find that most cosmetic surgeons will be happy to see you for an initial consultation without a referral letter from your GP. But if you plan to go ahead with a cosmetic operation, the surgeon should seek your permission to contact your GP for details of your medical history.

This is an important safety precaution, especially if your operation means you’ll need a general anaesthetic. Although you may not need a referral letter to make an appointment to see a cosmetic surgeon, we recommend that you consult your GP at the very beginning of the process so you can get their professional advice.

Read more: How to choose a cosmetic surgeon.