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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 December 2005, 00:22 GMT
Cosmetic surgery website launched
Sharon Osbourne
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A website giving information about cosmetic surgery and treatments is being launched by the government.

The Department of Health says it is important people considering treatment can access reliable information about the risks and likely outcomes.

Cosmetic surgery is not available on the NHS, but there has been a big increase in demand in recent years.

There are concerns that many people opt to undergo treatment without first seeking proper medical advice.

People need help and support to make informed choices about whether to have cosmetic surgery or a non-surgical cosmetic treatment
Sir Liam Donaldson

Chief Medical Officer for England Professor Sir Liam Donaldson set up a committee last year to examine the regulation of cosmetic surgery.

One of the key recommendations was that the public should have access to detailed, accredited advice, including what standards to expect from providers, what qualifications to look for and what questions to ask.

Sir Liam said: "People need help and support to make informed choices about whether to have cosmetic surgery or a non-surgical cosmetic treatment.

"Well informed patients can help to drive up standards among providers in a field of healthcare where there have been concerns."

Wealth of information

The website includes an A-Z list of all cosmetic procedures, with details of what each treatment involves, any potential risks, and what results to expect.

It also provides details on possible alternatives to cosmetic surgery.

There is also information on how to check that the surgeons, doctors, dentists, nurses or beauty therapists carrying out the cosmetic treatments have the right qualifications and experience.

Professor John Lowry, chair of the Senate of Surgery's Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee, said: "The committee greatly welcomes publication of greater information and more reliable guidance for patients considering cosmetic procedures.

"This will complement the work already well advanced in the development of enhanced training and assessment of practitioners, compliance with minimum healthcare standards and the monitoring of newly emerging techniques."

Dr Douglas McGeorge, president-elect of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, also welcomed the new website.

He said: "Anything that patients can get that leads them to qualified people has got to be encouraged.

"There are lots of practitioners out there who do not hold formal qualifications in aesthetic surgery."

Dr McGeorge said that since April 2002 all practitioners had to be listed on a specialist register.

However, people who were practising before that were allowed to continue even if they did not have formal qualifications.

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