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The General Medical Council has issued new guidance which sets out the standards expected from doctors who provide cosmetic interventions. The guidance came into force on 1 June 2016 and applies to all doctors who carry out both surgical (such as breast augmentation) and non-surgical procedures (such as dermal fillers).
Doctors must read and follow this guidance together with the GMC’s other guidance: serious or persistent failure to do so will put their registration at risk.
The guidance makes clear the ethical obligations doctors have towards patients and the standards of care they need to provide. It says that doctors must:
- market their services responsibly
- seek a patient’s consent themselves rather than delegate this to somebody else
- give patients all the time and information they need so that they can make a voluntary and informed decision about whether to go ahead
- take particular care when considering requests for interventions on children and young people
- consider patients’ vulnerabilities and psychological needs when making decisions with them about treatment options
This guidance incorporates principles from the GMC’s existing guidance, and is structured under the four domains of Good medical practiceIn some cases, it sets a higher standard than in other guidance to address the specific safety issues and ethical concerns particular to the cosmetic sector.
What will the GMC do if doctors breach the guidance?
The guidance sets the standards of good medical practice and it expects all doctors registered with the GMC to follow.
If a doctor breaches the guidance and the GMC receive a complaint, it will be investigated under the GMC’s fitness to practise procedures, and if appropriate can impose sanctions on a doctor’s registration. Ultimately, for serious or persistent breaches, there may by a tribunal hearing, and a doctor can be erased from the medical register.