Personal Injury, Serious Injury & Clinical Negligence

Sir Bruce Keogh publishes report following PIP scandal

Following the PIP scandal, the government commissioned two review committees to consider cosmetic procedures.

The first review, was led by Lord Howe, the Minister for Quality, to establish what happened in the UK once organisations such as the department of health learnt about the situation with PiP implants in France. Lord Howe published his findings in May 2012. He found that, although the regulator acted appropriately and followed scientific and clinical advice, there was room for improvement and serious lessons should be learned.

The second review was to be led by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, the NHS Medical Director, to look at whether the cosmetic/plastic surgery industry requires more regulation. On 24 April 2013, the Department of Health published the review committee’s report, the ‘Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions’.

The review found that, there was almost no regulation for non-surgical cosmetic procedures. They recommended better regulation, better training and proper redress if things go wrong.

Specifically, the report set out the following recommendations:

  • making all dermal fillers prescription only
  • ensuring all practitioners are properly qualified for all the procedures they offer, from cosmetic surgeons offering breast enlargement to people offering ‘injectables’, such as dermal fillers or Botox
  • an ombudsman to oversee all private health care including cosmetic procedures to help those who have been treated poorly
  • surgical providers should provide a record of implants and operations to both the person undergoing a procedure and their GP
  • a registry should be established for breast implants and other devices – this should alert the authorities to any signs of concerns at an early stage, and will provide critical intelligence in the event of product failure or recall
  • providers are obliged to ensure that people are aware of the implications and risks of procedure and that they have adequate time to consider this information before agreeing to surgery
  • an advertising code of conduct should be developed and compliance should be mandatory for all practitioners insurance products should be developed to protect patients in the event of product failure, or provider insolvency

Following publication of the report, Sir Bruce Keogh, said:

“At the heart of this report is the person who chooses to have a cosmetic procedure. We have heard terrible reports about people who have trusted a cosmetic practitioner to help them but, when things have gone wrong, they have been left high and dry with no help. These people have not had the safety net that those using the NHS have. This needs to change.

We would like to see everyone who chooses to have any cosmetic procedure better protected. We would like to see people who carry out procedures trained to a high standard. We would like the public to feel confident they are going to be well looked after and, if things go wrong, that they will be supported. And ultimately, if someone needs to step in on the side of patients, we think there should be an ombudsman to do that.”

Health Minister Dr Dan Poulter has confirmed that, in principle, he agrees with the “far-reaching” recommendations set out in the report. However, he will prepare a full response to the report which will be available in summer 2013.

If you have undergone cosmetic treatment and would like to discuss the possibility of pursuing a claim, please contact the Medical negligence team on 0800 316 8892