1 in 5 Independent Cosmetic Surgery Clinics Unsafe: CQC

Nicky Broyd

October 31, 2019

The Care Quality Commission (CQC) is warning of "emerging concerns" about independent cosmetic surgery clinics.

The regulator inspected 65 of the independent clinics that provide cosmetic procedures and/or hair transplants, which is just under two thirds of those registered. It is taking action against 12 different providers. This means issuing requirement notices or enforcement action.

Common Areas of Concern

Inspectors reported "common areas of concern", including:

  • Staff without the appropriate training, qualifications, and competencies for their role

  • Unsafe sedation and anaesthetics practices

  • Poor monitoring and management of patients where a condition could worsen

  • Attention lacking for fundamental safety processes

  • Variable standards regarding risk management and governance

  • Failure to adhere to two-stage consent processes with a cooling off period before surgery

  • Not following infection prevention and control standards

  • Equipment maintenance concerns

Warning Letter

CQC Chief Inspector of Hospitals Prof Ted Baker has written to providers detailing his concerns. In a statement he said: "Where we have found concerns we have held those providers to account and have been clear where improvements must be made. We expect providers to deliver on their commitment to provide safe, high-quality care. And we will do everything within our powers to ensure this happens."

He conceded the industry is not all bad: "We know there are some independent cosmetic surgery providers doing all these things and providing a very good standard of care. Unfortunately, our initial inspections suggest that this is not always the case."

The CQC is urging potential patients to check its clinic reports before picking a cosmetic surgery provider.


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