From September 2012, Anglia Ruskin University is offering a new course in cosmetic surgery, which will, it is claimed, further ensure the safety and reliability of cosmetic surgery procedures carried out in the UK. While all plastic surgeons working within the UK must already complete training, this new course hopes to boost the level of expertise amongst surgeons working particularly in areas of cosmetic surgery.
The course, after which successful students will graduate with an MSc (Master of Science), opens this September to all accredited plastic surgeons who are currently working within the country. Surgeons from other countries will be able to apply from September of 2013. Indeed, it is hoped that the course will mean that Brits no longer feel that it is necessary to travel abroad for reliable and cost-effective plastic surgery. Some plastic surgeons currently working in the UK may not be fully knowledgeable about cosmetic procedures such as breast augmentation, despite having expertise in medical ‘reconstructive’ work (such as treating burns patients). This is due to the difference between NHS training and the fact that most cosmetic surgery is done in private practices. It is this gap that surgeon Professor James Frame hopes to fill with this new course, which will be practice-based, ensuring that qualified graduates will have practical experience as well as theoretical knowledge.
The need for training
Headline-grabbing stories such as the recent scandal surrounding ‘faulty’ PIP breast implants show the need, says Professor. Frame, for cosmetic surgeons to be recognised within their own qualification, separate from other areas of plastic surgery. However, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), Fazel Fateh, claims that at present plastic surgeons do indeed receive training in cosmetic surgery as part of their NHS training. “Every trainee is taught the basic principles of aesthetic surgery,” he said, denying that the new MSc would be a necessary condition of being a “fully-qualified” plastic surgeon, although he did agree that the new course would certainly be “desirable for some.” At present, all plastic surgeons working within the UK undergo training, approved by the Royal College of Surgeons, which can last as long as seventeen years. However, the issue of practical experience specifically in the field of cosmetic surgery, and then operating in private practices without that experience, is the disjuncture that the new Anglia Ruskin course aims to bridge, helping patients feel secure knowing that their surgeon is highly qualified.