BSI, the business standards company has worked collaboratively with professionals within the cosmetic surgery industry to develop the new European standard EN 16372 Aesthetic Surgery Services. The standard is of importance to the private plastic surgery clinics in the UK who provide their services to anybody wanting to change their physical appearance by cosmetic surgery.

The standard was developed to provide an improvement in the level of aesthetic surgery services to enhance patient safety and satisfaction, and reduce the risk of complications. The aim is to promote consistently high standards for aesthetic surgery service providers across Europe and the UK. It has been developed in conjunction with a second proposed European Standard on non-surgical cosmetic treatments, which is still under deliberation.

‘This is a very significant move in creating an equal system for both the UK and Europe,’ said Anne Hayes, Head of Market Development for Governance & Risk at BSI. ‘In an area where the public choose to have a procedure, it is important that standards exist and provide confidence to both patients and those working in the sector. EN 16372 enables this to happen.’

The market is already ‘Europeanised’, with patients travelling to other countries to have procedures, where markets are often unregulated and patients are vulnerable to complications. The standard will help create a level playing field in Europe and ensure that the reputation of competent well-trained surgeons is not compromised at the hands of those who are not fit to practice.

The standard provides a set of requirements, which are considered essential for the provision of aesthetic surgery services by private facilities. It covers the entire service level: before, during and after the aesthetic procedure has been carried out. It includes:

  • Ethics and marketing
  • Consultation procedure
  • Competencies
  • Management and communication with patients
  • Available facilities
  • Categorisation and risk level of the procedures.

Some of the organisations involved in the consensus-based development of EN 16372 include: British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), British Association of Plastic Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgeon (BAPRAS) and Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS).

‘We often hear and see cases within aesthetic surgery where patients have suffered complications or faced unnecessary risks as a result of poorly qualified practitioners. Patient safety has to be the primary consideration for everyone working within this specialised field,’ said Nigel Mercer, Vice President at BAPRAS and past-President of BAAPS.

‘Now, the impending European standard for Aesthetic Surgery Services means that patients can have the peace of mind that they are being treated by an appropriately qualified practitioner, in an appropriate facility, in accordance to set guidelines, which include standards on advertising.’