Surgeons and health bosses at Nuffield Health Tees Hospital have backed new guidelines to clamp down on aggressive supermarket-style promotions for cosmetic procedures.
Unethical plastic surgery centres have been criticised for offering discounts, refer-a-friend schemes, gift vouchers and even offers to buy one procedure get one free, in a twist on supermarket BOGOF deals.
However, new advertising regulations have now been announced, which will be implemented in April.
The new guidelines will protect consumers from aggressive plastic surgery marketing. Doctors who fail to follow the new rules may even be struck off from the medical register.
Nuffield Health Tees Hospital, which carries out a range of cosmetic and plastic surgery procedures, has welcomed the move.
Lesley Lock, Nuffield Health Tees Hospital director, said: “Choosing a surgical procedure is very different from picking up a product from the supermarket shelf and it’s only right that the way cosmetic and plastic surgery can be advertised should be very tightly regulated.
“For many people, a cosmetic procedure offers a way to feel happier and more confident. But it should only be carried out where there is a real benefit to the patient, where that person is fully informed about what it entails and where nothing is done to trivialise the procedure.”
Lesley added: “Patient safety, choice and information have to be the key priorities when it comes to any surgical procedure, whether medical or cosmetic. It is simply not ethical to put aggressive marketing strategies in place. If a procedure isn’t right for a certain patient, we will say so. Offers like BOGOF could encourage people to have a second or third procedure which they really don’t need and perhaps hadn’t even previously considered.
“Anyone considering plastic surgery should be fully informed about their procedure, from an informal one-on-one chat with a surgeon, through to a more formal consultation before their admission.
“It is also absolutely vital to ensure that your surgeon is registered with the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS).”