General Medical Council writes guidelines for people considering cosmetic surgery

The General Medical Council (GMC) has published a guide advising patients to go through a checklist before signing on the dotted line and agreeing to undergo cosmetic surgery. The aim is that by going through the safety checks there will be less mistakes thus reducing the number of cosmetic blunders.

One of the first things that anyone should do when researching their surgeon or cosmetic practitioner is to make sure they are certificated by the British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons as not all surgeons are. This is very relevant for those considering invasive surgery which can be fatal if not done properly. Checks should also be made on the credentials of practitioners who offer non-invasive procedures such as fillers and dermabrasion as well.

The GMC’s guide also recommends the following procedures are adhered to:

  • Consent – It is really important that the doctor/surgeon/medical practitioner who will carry out your procedure must speak to you in person. They must clearly explain the risks involved and the likely outcome aesthetically of your procedure before you should give your consent.
  • Transparency – If you struggle to obtain information as to the surgeons experience, medical credentials, insurance and testimonials then beware. A skilled and experienced surgeon/practitioner has nothing to hide and will provide ANY information you need to make an informed and considered decision.
  • Environment – Make sure you know where your surgery is taking place and that this is a safe, clean and appropriate place for your procedure. Invasive surgery should take place in a well-equipped hospital.
  • Experience – A doctor can become a plastic surgeon without specialising so it is possible that a surgeon can be a master at facial surgery or breast augmentation but may have absolutely no experience of any other procedures such as liposuction, tummy tucks etc. Ensure you ask your doctor how many of your procedures they’ve done. They should be able to provide you with all the information you need including approximately how many procedures they have done, provide pictures and explain the length and potential complications of the surgery. If the information is not forthcoming then you may find yourself a guinea pig!
  • Consideration – any surgery, invasive or non-invasive, should be carefully considered over time. Speak with friends and family to make sure you are making a good decision which is not based on how you are feeling at that moment. You may feel differently in six months’ time about yourself and wish you hadn’t had the procedure. It can also be a dangerous decision as all surgery has risks so consider your options carefully – don’t rush in because there is a special offer on!
  • Aftercare – a good clinic will provide you an aftercare plan so that after any procedure you know how to manage your pain levels and ensure any wounds are kept dry and clean to minimise infection. You should have an emergency contact should you become unwell or get an infection and there should be a few consultations to discuss the results and any problems.
  • Fees – these must be transparent and clear, no hidden charges for after care, anaesthetics or accommodation.

Professor Terence Stephenson of the GMC: “People choosing to undergo a cosmetic procedure have the right to expect safe, high-quality care and ­treatment.

“The information we’re publishing reminds people of what they can expect from a doctor who carries out cosmetic procedures in the UK.

“We hope it empowers people to take more time, do more research or even walk away if they aren’t fully confident in any part of the cosmetic intervention they are being offered.”


If you feel that your surgeon did not properly inform you of the risks or of a realist aesthetic result after surgery then you may be entitled to compensation. If you are unhappy with any stage of your cosmetic surgery consultation, procedure or post op care then contact Thorneycroft Solicitors now to discuss your individual case with a professional who understands how sensitive this issue is.

They offer a free initial assessment to all of our potential clients free of charge. To take advantage of this, please either call 01625 506655, or fill out this compensation form.

*Please note: When you submit a query on this site or use the telephone number provided, your details will go straight to Thorneycroft Solicitors who will offer you the legal advice you require. No advice is provided by Claimant Law.