Doctors who carry out cosmetic procedures should give patients time to think before agreeing to go ahead, new guidance says.
The General Medical Council has produced the guidance to make surgical and non-surgical procedures, such as facelifts, breast implants, dermal fillers and Botox, safer.
It will now consult doctors and the public about the guidance.
Plastic surgeons said they were already using a two-week cooling-off period.
In 2013, a report by NHS England’s medical director highlighted the risks associated with the cosmetic sector.
This followed safety concerns after nearly 50,000 women in the UK had PIP breast implants fitted. The French implants were made from an unauthorised silicone filler and were found to have double the rupture rate of other implants.
In January, the Royal College of Surgeons published a consultation on proposals to improve standards in cosmetic surgery.
The GMC sets the standards that are expected of all UK doctors who carry out cosmetic procedures. It also tries to help patients understand what to expect from their doctor.
Some of the main points in the new guidance say that doctors should:
- Be open and honest with patients and not trivialise the risks involved
- Give patients enough time and information before they decide whether to have a cosmetic procedure, allowing them time to “cool off”
- Ask patients to tell them how they have been affected by a cosmetic procedure, both physically and psychologically
- Not target people under 18 through their marketing and seek additional advice from professionals who treat young people
- Seek their patient’s consent themselves rather than delegate it
- Not make unjustifiable claims about the results they can achieve and not give away procedures as prizes
Prof Terence Stephenson, the chairman of the General Medical Council, said some patients in this area were vulnerable and needed protecting.
“We are clear that doctors must not pressure patients to make rushed decisions they may end up regretting and they must give them enough information so they can make an informed choice.
Here at the Bexley Clinic for most procedures a consultation is performed first to assess the suitability of the client to the procedure, and to give time for them to consider their decision. Also if it is a prescription only medication that they are receiving, this has to be prescribed and ordered in especially for them. Clients are never pressured into having treatments, and in fact, in some cases, may be refused if they are not deemed suitable.