The General Medical Council that regulates UK doctors is bringing in new guidelines for cosmetic procedures to stop rogue practitioners who put profits before patients.
New rules are coming into force in June for private clinics and the NHS, make it clear that patients must not be rushed or cajoled into having surgery. Promotional tactics like two-for-one offers are banned. The surgeon or practitioner who is carrying out the cosmetic procedure - be that a breast implant, face lift or botox injections - must fully explain the risks of any procedure and should make sure patients know who to contact if they experience any complications, say the guidelines.
A review of the industry in 2013 by Prof Sir Bruce Keogh found few safeguards for patients, particularly for those undergoing non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as dermal fillers. "In fact, a person having a non-surgical cosmetic intervention has no more protection and redress than someone buying a ballpoint pen or a toothbrush," his report to government concluded.
The Royal College of Surgeons of England is launching its own set of professional standards for cosmetic surgeons. The RCS is also calling on the government to introduce new legislation at the next Queen's Speech in May to make sure surgeons are certified to carry out cosmetic operations. It is hoped the measures will put an end to botched and unethical procedures.
Victoria Ashton, who had breast implants in 2008 that were later to be found faulty with a high risk of rupturing in the body is now part of a campaign group for the 47,000 UK women similarly affected by the PIP implant scandal.
"Think twice," she said. "Profit before people is basically our experience of the cosmetic surgery industry. They are all lovely to you in the process of having your operations. "As soon as your operation is over and done with and you are out of the period in which they look after you, they don't really want to know."