COSMETIC specialist Gary Ross has become the first plastic surgeon to be officially certified by a prestigious new scheme designed to boost patient safety.
Mr Ross, who operates out of the BMI Alexandra Hospital in Cheadle and the Christie Clinic in Withington, has been rubber-stamped by the Royal College Of Surgeons (RCS) Professional Standards system.
Launched in April last year, it sets-out tough industry benchmarks to help provide quality assurances for any patients looking to undergo a cosmetic procedure.
And now Mr Ross, an Honorary Senior Lecturer at the University of Manchester, is urging other surgeons to become approved themselves as he looks to safeguard the vulnerable.
Mr Ross, who recently appeared on BBC series Holding Back The Years, said: “A patient needs to have the utmost trust in the medical practitioner helping them.
“In an industry becoming increasingly tarnished by the actions of those who place profit above patient wellbeing, safeguards and checks to protect the vulnerable have never been more important.
“Which is why the new certification system launched by The Royal College of Surgeons – brought in to protect the cosmetic surgery industry and to guide patients in their life-changing choices – could prove to be one of the greatest steps forward yet, for all concerned.
“For me personally, it is an honour to be the first surgeon to have certified in cosmetic surgery through the RCS process, and I see this as a significant advance in patient care that will improve the reputation of the profession for years to come.”
Approved surgeons will be listed on the RCS website and acknowledged as highly capable in their defined areas of specialism.
It’s hoped patients will then be able to browse the RCS list and choose a surgeon who’s at the cutting edge of their chosen profession.
Mr Ross, an expert in so-called ‘mum tum’ abdominoplasty procedures and innovative fat-transfer breast augmentation operations, had to prove his competence in breast surgery, surgery of the face, nose, periorbital region and ears, body contouring surgery, and body contouring following massive weight loss,.
He explained: “In order to certify through the RCS scheme, I have provided evidence of my training, experience, and outcomes.
“I’ve provided reflection on difficult cases and showed through appraisal, revalidation, and through patient and colleague feedback, that I meet the professional standards that would be expected of a cosmetic surgeon.
“Every cosmetic surgeon should certify through the RCS – and that this should become mandatory – to safeguard patients form both physical and psychological harm.”
Stephen Cannon, Vice President of the RCS and Chair of the Cosmetic Surgery Interspecialty Committee, said ‘unscrupulous’ surgeons needed to be curbed.
He commented: “Our professional standards for cosmetic surgery, coupled with the GMC’s new guidance, will raise the bar and make absolutely clear what we expect of all surgeons working in the private sector.
“We will do everything in our powers to protect patients and to stop unscrupulous individuals from practising.”
The Royal College of Surgeons isn’t the only establishment seeking industry change.
Last month the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent body that examines and reports on ethical issues in biology and medicine, called for better regulation of the cosmetic industry, and also an outright ban on clinics offering ‘walk in’ procedures to young people.
Meanwhile former Health Secretary Lord Andrew Lansley, also last month successfully tabled a private members’ bill that, if passed, will enable the General Medical Council (GMC) to note on its medical register which surgeons have been awarded the RCS’ cosmetic surgery certification.
The Care Quality Commission will also take the RCS and GMC standards into account during hospital inspections and when making a judgement about the quality and safety of services being provided.
Mr Ross, aged 45, and who lives in Sale with his wife and two daughters, adds: “All of this underlines the value of the RCS certification system and I’d encourage every plastic and cosmetic surgeon to get involved in it to become regulated and certified.
“It’s what we all must strive for.”
The RCS certification for Mr Ross comes just weeks after he was awarded a Certificate of Excellence by the popular patient review website ‘I Want Great Care.’
It was a prize that acknowledged Mr Ross’s consistently high review scores throughout the year.
And Mr Ross is also the only UK plastic surgeon to be named in the Top 500 of the RealSelf patient review website for three consecutive years.