The simple answer is no…… the obvious exception would be unless your GP has recommended that you have surgery for medical reasons and that this was being undertaken and paid for under the NHS.

Do you need a referral from your GP for a Cosmetic Surgery Consultation?

The NHS may consider providing surgery where a persons’ psychological wellbeing or health are affected, the most common reasons that surgery may be considered under the NHS are:

  • Breast implants if a woman’s breasts are severely underdeveloped or asymmetrical, and it’s clear this is causing her significant psychological distress
  • Nose Reshaping if the person has breathing problems
  • A Tummy Tuck if the person has excess fat or skin after weight loss or pregnancy
  • A Breast Reduction operation if the weight of a woman’s breasts is causing her back problems

It is common practice for your surgeon to request permission to share the occurrence of your surgery with your GP prior to surgery. Of course some patients may not want this detail shared particularly if the GP is a family friend etc. but we would always urge patients to allow this.

Remember your GP keeps your medical history completely confidential but by permitting your surgeon contact with him/her relevant medical detail such as medication and family history could be made available that may be important information for your surgeon to be aware of prior to surgery and during your recovery.

How to arrange a Cosmetic Surgery consultation

If you are considering a Cosmetic procedure, the first step is to do your research both about the procedure itself and about the surgeon you have chosen. It is important to be completely aware of not only the result you will undoubtedly achieve but also any risks associated, just undergoing a General Anaesthetic alone has its own risks associated, most are rare but must be considered. Of course all of this detail will be discussed during your consultation and you will be given the relevant information sheets to take home with you to read to your leisure following your consultation.

Choosing a surgeon is probably one of the most important decisions to make, many people are given a recommendation by a friend or relative but if you don’t have a referral you can find information online or the following checklist may help you find the right surgeon for you:

  • Ensure the surgeon is on The GMC register and on the Specialist Register for Plastic Surgery

THE GMC (General Medical Council) registers doctors to practice medicine in the UK. The purpose of the GMC is to protect, promote and maintain the health and safety of the public by ensuring the highest standards in the practice of medicine. From 1 January 1997, all doctors taking up a post as a substantive, fixed term or honorary consultant in the health service in the UK are required to be on the GMC specialist register. Doctors need to apply for entry onto the specialist register and meet the criteria set down in legislation such as completing a period of formal specialist training and /or qualifications. A cosmetic surgeon will need to be on the GMC specialist register specifically for plastic surgery.

  • The Surgeon holds an FRCS (Plast) or FRCS qualification in Plastic Surgery

Fellowship of the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) is a professional qualification to practice as a Surgeon in Ireland or the United Kingdom. The Royal College of Surgeons of England is committed to enabling surgeons to achieve and maintain the highest standards of surgical practice and patient care. FRCS is a general qualification and surgeons who have had specialist training in plastic surgery hold the qualification FRCS (Plast) or FRCS in plastic surgery.

  • The Surgeon holds or has held a post as a Consultant Plastic Surgeon in the NHS

Cosmetic Surgeons who work or have worked in NHS posts as a Consultant Cosmetic and Plastic Surgeons will have extensive specialist experience and qualifications in this field.

  • The Surgeon holds membership for an Organisation like BAAPS or BAPRAS

The BAAPS (British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons) is based at The Royal College of Surgeons and was established for the advancement of education and safety in aesthetic surgery. Having surgery by a BAAPS member gives patients the assurance that their surgeon has been examined in aesthetic/cosmetic surgery and has been deemed by colleagues to be of sufficient standing to become a member.

The BAPRAS (British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons) is known as the voice for plastic surgery. It was founded for reconstructive plastic surgery work and the members undergo intensive specialist training in plastic surgery that qualifies them to also perform aesthetic or cosmetic surgery.

Membership to either Organisation is a good indication of a consultant being fully trained and qualified as a plastic or cosmetic surgeon.

The key when making such an important decision is to do as much research as possible. A good Plastic Surgeon will provide you with honest and unbiased information for you to take away and decide in your own time what your next step maybe in your Plastic Surgery journey.

If you are considering a Cosmetic procedure and would like to arrange a consultation, we hold clinics in Birmingham and The Midlands. For more information you can visit our website or call 0800 612 5919 to make an appointment.

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