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Possible expansion of the CQC rating system to cover cosmetic surgery clinics

The Department of Health is launching an eight week consultation to expand the rating programme which is run by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). The consultation closes on the 14 October 2016.

At present the CQC inspects and provides ratings for NHS Trusts, Foundation Trusts, GP Practices, adult social care providers and independent hospitals. The CQC rates them as being “outstanding”, “good”, “requires improvement”, or “inadequate” and the results are published online. Between April 2015 and March 2016 the CQC inspected approximately 3,273 GP practices. Of these practices 136 were rated as outstanding and 126 rated as inadequate the vast majority, 2678, were rated as good.

Cosmetic surgery clinics are currently inspected by the CQC but are not rated. The new proposals involve expanding the current rating system to include up to 1,000 facilities including independent community health providers, ambulance services, services offering pregnancy termination, substance misuse advice and cosmetic surgery clinics.

Supporters of the rating system believe extending the scheme is a necessary step towards improving patient safety and giving patients informed choice. Recent high profile cosmetic surgery scandals such as the PIP breast implant scandal in 2012 have brought in to question the standards and practices of some cosmetic surgery clinics.

Expanding the rating system is a positive step in improving patient safety and choice. The expansion of this system together with the new guidelines published by the General Medical Council which took effect in June 2016 (see our previous blog will hopefully improve the quality of cosmetic surgery care for patients.

In a further positive step for patient safety, Action Against Medical Accidents (AVMA) are currently working in conjunction with the CQC on a pilot scheme to help increase the public’s understanding and awareness of the standards which they should expect to receive whenever they receive medical care. More information about the pilot scheme can be found here.

If you or a member of your family has undergone plastic surgery and you have concerns that this treatment may have been sub-standard, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our Clinical Negligence Team on 0800 316 8892 for further advice.