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Guidance for Doctors who offer Cosmetic Interventions

This guidance came into force on the 1 June 2016 and applies to all doctors who carry out both surgical and non-surgical cosmetic procedures including those who may be responsible for supervising others.

The GMC defines a cosmetic procedure as ‘’any intervention, procedure or treatment carried out with the primary objective of changing an aspect of a patient’s physical appearance."

The key aims of this guidance are to make sure that doctors:

  • Are appropriately trained and experienced to practise safely
  • Work with each individual patient to make sure their expectations about the outcomes that can be achieved for them are realistic
  • Follow current guidelines or protocols for safe, effective provision of cosmetic interventions 
  • Consider the psychological needs of their patients
  • Do not allow any financial or commercial interests in a particular intervention, or an organisation providing cosmetic interventions, to adversely affect standards of good patient care

Annual Appraisal

It is important to highlight that this Guidance from the GMC entails the following expectations, which can have implications for your annual appraisal and for maintaining your license to practise as doctors:

  • GPs involved in providing cosmetic interventions, as defined by the GMC, must declare the full scope of their work as part of their annual appraisal. This applies to both NHS and private patients
  • As part of the annual appraisal, practitioners who engage in any cosmetic procedures are expected to be able to provide evidence of appropriate training, ongoing learning and quality outcomes, including proactive monitoring of outcomes and of patient feedback. Practitioners should also provide evidence of participation in peer review and, where they exist, participation in external peer review systems and compilation of registers

GMC Guidance & CQC

GPs are reminded that adherence to GMC guidance in relation to commercial dealings and conflicts of interest are relevant issues in the context of cosmetic procedures, as is specific registration with the CQC and any issues that arise from dual use of premises.


GPs involved in conducting or being responsible for oversight of cosmetic interventions conducted by others to ensure that they and their staff have adequate indemnity cover for the full scope of their practice.  Even if a procedure can legally be undertaken by an unqualified person, any UK licensed doctor conducting the procedure does so as a medical practitioner.

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