London, Nov 25 (UNI) Britain's booming cosmetic surgery industry is under fire for using illegal advertisements and neglecting patient safety in its pursuit of profits.
According to an investigation by The Obeserver and consumers' association 'Which', bad practice is rife in the industry as some clinics are breaking the law by allowing unqualified staff to prescribe Botox, while others are offering interesting offers to encourage women to agree to operations.
The evidence by 'Which' featured various examples of alleged wrongdoing by firms exhibited at the Body Beautiful trade fair in London alleges handing out promotional material at the show advertising Botox, in contravention of guidelines drawn up by the medicines and healthcare products regulatory agency in UK.
Sally Taber, director of Independent Healthcare Advisory Services, said, ''Which, has given me a lot of examples and I'm pretty horrified about them. But I wasn't surprised, because we knew there was bad practice going on.'' Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police is investigating a case of a woman who was recently caught illegally calling herself a 'doctor' and prescribing Botox at a London beauty clinic, even though not being registered with the General Medical Council.
The number of cosmetic surgery treatments undertaken in Britain has soared from 202,000 in 2001 to about 700,000 in 2005. About 85 per cent of those involve non-surgical treatments, such as Botox and laser hair removal, and only 15 per cent are breast operations, 'tummy tucks' or liposuction.
Douglas McGeorge, president, British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons had called for the entire 360m pound-a-year market in aesthetic treatments to be policed by the Healthcare Commission, so that substandard premises could be shut down.
A Department of Health spokesman said, ''People should have all the facts before going ahead with potentially life-changing cosmetic surgery. There is a balance to be struck as to how far the taxpayer should be expected to pay for the regulation and policing of such procedures.'' UNI