The UK is on track to have a plastic surgery crisis by 2020, according to a report from the Royal College of Surgeons.
A growing number of plastic surgery patients are choosing to wait for surgery, and there are fears it is leading to higher rates of post-operative complications.
The Royal College’s report said the number of UK patients waiting for a cosmetic procedure rose by 33% from 2011 to 2015, with patients delaying surgery for reasons including a family or financial situation, not being able to afford it, and a lack of options.
The report also warned that cosmetic surgery is becoming increasingly unaffordable, and that costs for the majority of procedures are rising faster than inflation.
Dr John Lambert, president of the Royal Cosmetic Society, said: “This report shows that cosmetic surgeries are not just the exception to the rule, but the norm for cosmetic surgery in the UK.”
The report’s findings come as the Royal Society has issued its first ever national guidance on cosmetic surgery for the 2020 General Election, recommending that cosmetic procedures be performed only by people who can afford them.
Dr Lambert said: “[The report] says it all.
We have had some cosmetic surgery people who have decided to delay their procedures because they can’t afford it.
We want to make sure that people can get what they need, but we also want to ensure that they can get surgery that’s right for them.”
Dr Lambert added: “We’ve got to be very cautious, because there are people who will get plastic surgery that they’ll regret in the long run.”
We need to be more cautious in our attitudes to people who are waiting for surgery and we need to make that more clear.
“If you look at the evidence, it’s not as good as we would have liked.”
Read more: The NHS plastic surgery programme is being scaled back due to the NHS plastic surgeon shortage article Dr Lambert said the NHS needs to “rethink” the way it does cosmetic surgery, saying the system should “think more holistically” about what is necessary.
He said: [I]f you have the right people, the right expertise, the ability to go out and get surgery, it will happen, but if you have a shortage of people, it won’t happen.
“It’s a question of prioritising what you need.”
When you’re talking about cosmetic surgery you need people who understand the needs of people.
You need people with the right experience.
“I think there’s a misconception that there’s not enough plastic surgeons and there aren’t enough surgeons in the NHS.
I think the answer is more of both.”
Dr Simon Hogg, chief executive of the Cosmetic Society of Great Britain, said the report showed the NHS needed to prioritise plastic surgery to help the country deal with the growing problem.
He added: [We] need to look at what is actually available in the clinic, what is out there and what is the right approach to those patients.
“The NHS has a problem in that there are not enough people who want to do cosmetic surgery.
It’s an absolute crisis.”
There are thousands of people in the country who want plastic surgery and the problem is they can only afford it.
“The Royal Society said plastic surgery in Britain had grown by 7.6% over the last three years, with demand from the growing middle class and growing demand from people wanting to have children.
The body also noted that the number with a second or third procedure was on the rise.