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A fifth of cosmetic surgery clinics deemed unsafe

Many patients are treated by untrained staff and left in danger while sedated

One in five cosmetic surgery clinics are unsafe and putting their clients at risk, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) has found.

A report by the health regulator warned too many people undergoing cosmetic surgery are treated by untrained staff and left in danger while sedated during liposuction.

Its inspections of premises providing solely cosmetic surgery uncovered “areas of inadequate practice” that put clients at risk of serious harm.

Common areas of concerns among clinics include poor monitoring of patients whose health may deteriorate; staff failing to obtain proper consent before starting treatment; patients not being given a proper “cooling-off” period between their consultation and the procedure; an inability to manage anaphylaxis; and a lack of attention to fundamental safety processes, the Guardian reports.

The CQC inspected 65 of the 102 services it licenses to carry out cosmetic surgery and published reports on 58 of the 65. It has taken enforcement action against 12 of those 58 – a fifth of the total.

Prof Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, has written to all cosmetic surgery clinics to warn them that the regulator would crack down hard when it comes across inadequate or unsafe care.

“Where we have concerns about the quality and safety of services, we will use our enforcement powers to demand improvements and, in the case of very significant concerns, to suspend or cancel a provider’s registration in order to protect people receiving care,” he said.

He added that clinicians undertaking high-risk or novel procedures must be able to prove they are ensuring patients’ safety, alerting them to the risks involved and acting in their best interests.