Cosmetic breast surgeon in first ten to gain certification

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Matt Stephenson is among ten cosmetic surgeons who have obtained the certification from the Royal College of Surgeons since the programme launched last year.

The RCS introduced the certification, which is voluntary, to enhance patient safety, as the law currently allows any doctor – surgeon or otherwise – to perform cosmetic surgery in the private sector.

To receive the accreditation, surgeons have to attend a compulsory masterclass as well as provide the RCS with evidence including patient feedback and references.

‘It’s a voluntary process at the moment but it’s likely to become compulsory,’ Mr Stephenson, who specialises in breast reconstruction following cancer as well as cosmetic surgery, said.

‘I applied and went through the process – it is quite tough. I got an email to say I had been successful and that I was one of the first ten in the whole of the UK to receive it.’

Mr Stephenson, who carries out about 100 private cosmetic procedures annually, said the majority of cosmetic surgeons viewed the certification scheme in a ‘very positive’ light.

‘Hopefully it will reduce the number of people who are operating who don’t have the right sort of training and skill set,’ he said. ‘I think it gives patients reassurance and comfort to know their surgeon has been through a process of formal accreditation.’

Mr Stephenson said many Islanders did not realise they could undergo cosmetic breast augmentation, breast reduction and breast lifts in Jersey.

‘You do hear quite regularly of people who have gone to clinics in the UK or sometimes Thailand or South Africa,’ he said. ‘They struggle to get proper post-operative care.’

‘If they then have problems, they can really struggle to access health care because unless it is an emergency you can’t ask the taxpayer to bail someone out who has had cosmetic surgery.’

The RCS said that since the certification scheme was launched, 168 surgeons had registered their interest and that it now had ten certified surgeons including Mr Stephenson.

Later this year, the RCS is due to publish a searchable register which will enable patients to look for a certified surgeon by the cosmetic surgical procedures they carry out and by location.

Tim Goodacre, RCS council member and lead for cosmetic surgery, said that while the ‘vast majority’ of surgeons performing cosmetic surgery were meeting the highest standards of patient care, there were still ‘too many worrying instances of bad practice’.

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