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President of Girls Brigade welcomes cosmetic surgery changes

by Aaron James

Rachel Gardner, who is also part of the Christian young people's charity Youthscape, was speaking after the General Medical Council announced new safeguards on the cosmetic surgery industry in order to prevent some surgeons putting profit above the wellbeing of their customers.

They include a mandatory cooling off period between an initial consultation and a formal decision to have cosmetic surgery, yet to be exactly defined, where a patient must go away and think about the potential decision.

The measure is designed to stop instances where a patient may feel pressured into a decision, or take it without properly considering the possible consequences.

Other measures include the banning of any 2-for-1 offers or other promotions on cosmetic surgery, and a legal requirement for cosmetic surgeons to explain all potential risks involved in the proposed procedures.

These and other safeguards take effect from June, and the General Medical Council will have the power to strike off any surgeon who breaks them.

Dr Braun/Flickr

Speaking on Premier's News Hour, Rachel Gardner said: "My big concern is not just how this affects adults, but how young people are engaging with how they feel about themselves.

"I'm all for the cosmetic surgery industry thinking about how they make it too easy for young people to have cosmetic surgery, but I think it has to be more than simply what they do.

"For young people particularly who are feeling incredibly vulnerable when it comes to their body image, I think decisions that are too easy can make life very difficult for young people.

"Having these stopgaps in place, and time to stop and think, will help some young people ask the big questions about 'where actually does my self-esteem come from?'"

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons said in a statement: "The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons welcome these guidelines for cosmetic surgery from the General Medical Council and the Royal College of Surgeons as a step forward to establishing basic care standards for aesthetic procedures.

"This initiative, for greater patient safety, has been one that the Association has been driving for for over a decade.

"We look forward to advancing the process of enforcement of these guidelines, so that all patients will be properly counselled and treated: able to make informed decisions about their healthcare - without being pressurised by unscrupulous practitioners and financial inducements."

Listen to Premier's Aaron James speaking to Rachel Gardner on the News Hour.

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