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Cheap cosmetic surgery comes at a price for the NHS

View profile for Gemma Crompton
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Cheap cosmetic surgery comes at a price for the NHS

It has been reported recently that the NHS is spending millions of pounds every year correcting mistakes made by plastic surgeons abroad.

The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) have reported that four out of five of their members have dealt with a rise in requests for revision surgery by patients who have been abroad for complex surgical procedures such as breast augmentation and face lifts.

Inevitably one of the main motivations for patients is cost with procedures costing up to 80% less than they would do in the UK. This medical tourism comes at a price personally, however, with complaints of unsuitable and dangerous surgery being carried out with little or no proper aftercare. Patients can be left physically and emotionally scarred with no redress other than to contact a surgeon once back in the UK.

The NHS was set up to be free at the point of access by all but fixing errors made by unscrupulous surgeons abroad was never contemplated. More obviously needs to be done to educate the public as to the risks of cosmetic surgery generally, but with the NHS in a funding crisis, difficult questions may need to be asked as to whether it can continue to be a safety net for mistakes made by others.

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