Cosmetic surgery clinics that fail to provide good quality care are set to be named and shamed under new government proposals. Clinics that offer cosmetic procedures will be rated online. "This would help end the lottery of poor practice," said Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary.
The Department of Health launched an eight-week consultation. It also expands the ratings of program that is run by the health regulator, the Care Quality Commission, and applies to NHS services such as hospitals and GP surgeries.
About 100 cosmetic surgery clinics will be given transparent ratings. The ratings include outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate. Since the PIP breast implant scandal in 2012, the government has been trying to ensure safer cosmetic surgery for patients.
The proposals also involve rating up to 1,000 providers of procedures and services including substance misuse centers, refractive eye surgery providers, independent community health providers, ambulance services and dialysis units. Clinics offering termination of pregnancy services could also be rated.
Since 2014, more than 10,000 providers have been rated by the CQC. But, it has focused on providers with the most patients, including NHS trusts, foundation trusts, GP practices, adult social care providers and independent hospitals.
Douglas McGeorge, consultant plastic surgeon and former president of the the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), said "The proposals were welcomed by the industry. However, the ratings would apply to the facilities rather than clinicians, so users still needed to be "extremely vigilant" and check their surgeon's credentials."
"We welcome - and indeed, have been calling for during the last decade - as much government scrutiny as is possible of the cosmetic sector. This is an arena where regulation has historically been lax and many practitioners can engage in procedures they are not trained or even qualified to perform," he said.
The CQC's remit will involve inspecting a facility or practice's equipment, record-keeping and administrative areas, rather than individual surgeons, McGeorge said.
According to the Department of Health "Shining a light on poor care in this manner is an essential part of developing an open and honest learning culture, where mistakes are acted upon and prevented from reoccurring. Since the PIP breast implant scandal in 2012, we have made good progress raising the standards of care in the cosmetics industry so patients can feel confident they are getting the best care from professionals with the right qualifications."