GMC Urges Cosmetic Procedure Patients to Question Doctors

Lorna Jackson
By Lorna Jackson

Lorna was Editor of Consulting Room (, the UK's largest aesthetic information website, from 2003 to 2021.

People thinking of having a cosmetic procedure are being urged to question their doctors before going ahead with treatment, in new advice issued on 1st June by the General Medical Council (GMC).

As tough standards for doctors carrying out cosmetic practice come into force – covering everything from fillers to facelifts – the GMC has published a guide to help potential patients research and receive safe, high-quality cosmetic care.

The GMC published new guidance for doctors carrying out cosmetic procedures in April 2016, following a public consultation held between June and September 2015. This consultation followed the Department of Health’s Review of the Regulations of Cosmetic Interventions published in 2013.


The GMC says people considering a COSMETIC procedure should keep in mind the following when interacting with their doctor:


Consent – The doctor who will carry out your procedure must speak to you personally and get your consent.

Openness - Your doctor must be open and honest about their skill, experience, fees and any conflicts of interest.

Safety – Your procedure must take place in a safe and suitable environment.

Marketing – Your doctor must market themselves responsibly and be clear about the risks involved.

Experience – Your doctor should have experience of carrying out the procedure you’ve asked for, and be able to tell you what it involves and how long it takes.

Time – Your doctor must give you enough time to make your decision. You should never feel pressured or rushed into having a procedure.

Information – Your doctor must give you clear information, including details about aftercare and who to contact if you’re worried.

Costs – Your doctor must explain the costs clearly, including details of any fees you need to pay for any potential additional procedures.

The advice, contained in full in the GMC’s leaflet What to expect of doctors who carry out cosmetic procedures, also explains what to do if people have any concerns or doubts about a cosmetic procedure, or if they experience any problems after work has been carried out.

Professor Terence Stephenson, Chair of the GMC, said:

“People choosing to undergo a cosmetic procedure have the right to expect safe, high-quality care and treatment. While doctors offering cosmetic interventions now have tough standards they must follow, this shouldn’t deter potential patients from asking questions about any aspect of their care, treatment and support. The information we’re publishing today reminds people of what they can expect from a doctor who carries out cosmetic procedures in the UK. We hope it empowers people to take more time, do more research or even walk away if they aren’t fully confident in any part of the cosmetic intervention they are being offered.”

Professor Terence Stephenson | 04/04/16

The GMC’s new COSMETIC acrostic accompanies its new guide on what to expect of doctors who carry out cosmetic procedures (available online).

The GMC is asking private cosmetic clinics across the UK to display these materials to help inform and support potential patients.

To find out more please visit

TYCT Welcomes New Guidance on Cosmetic Non-surgical Treatments From the GMC Yet Warns Patients Still at Risk

Urges GDC and NMC to Issue Guidance by Autumn 2016 to Ensure Patients Safety.


The UK’s original voluntary register,, of professionally regulated providers, namely doctors, dentists and registered nurses of cosmetic non-surgical treatments - Botox® and dermal fillers - has welcomed new guidance from the General Medical Council (GMC) which also advises patients how to find a safe provider by searching the TYCT register.

The guidance Cosmetic procedures: what do I need to consider? has been released by the GMC following an 18-month review, which Sally Taber, Director of Treatments You Can Trust was closely involved in, having established the register in 2010 with Government funding.

The GMC, which regulates nearly 275 thousand doctors across the UK, has recommended patients consult a Register such as to find a provider who has the appropriate training and meets the strict standards to administer Botox® and dermal fillers safely and in appropriate premises.

Whilst the announcement is welcomed by Treatments You Can Trust, its Director Sally Taber is already lobbying the General Dental Council (GDC) and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) to follow suit by Autumn 2016, ahead of peak demand for Botox® and dermal fillers during the Christmas season.


Sally Taber says, 

"We are delighted that the GMC has recognised voluntary registration with, yet it is disappointing that this much needed advice has not been published jointly with the General Dental Council (GDC) and the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). All three professions undertake the same non-surgical cosmetic treatments and the three professions should speak with one voice where patient care is concerned. We would welcome similar guidance.

We will ask all professions on the Treatments you can Trust Register to display the GMC guidance where all patients can see it.

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