ASA calls on Govt to deal with cosmetic surgery ad problem

The Advertising Standards Authority has urged the Government to create a new regulator to police the growing cosmetic surgery industry.

The Advertising Standards Authority has urged the Government to

create a new regulator to police the growing cosmetic surgery

industry.



The ASA, which is under fire from consumer groups over misleading ads by

private clinics, argues that it is not the right body to monitor them

because it lacks the medical expertise.



The plea for a new watchdog with teeth came when Matti Alderson, the

authority’s director-general, gave evidence to the Commons Health Select

Committee.



Alderson told the MPs that advertising by clinics carrying out cosmetic

operations was only one aspect of a much wider problem.



’The difficulty for the ASA or any other regulator is that there is no

single source for advice on cosmetic surgery,’ Caroline Crawford, the

authority’s director of communications, added. ’We believe that a

medical regulator should be set up to look, for example, at the

qualifications of surgeons and at clinical governance.



It should define what is meant by terms such as ’fully qualified’ and

’experienced’.’



Crawford said it was ironic that an industry which involved invasive

surgery was not regulated at a time when there were increasing controls

over other professions.



The ASA’s record was criticised when the Consumers Association gave

evidence to the committee.



The association accused the ASA of letting clinics off the hook when

they broke the rules. ’If the ASA is to play a role in protecting

private patients from misleading claims, it is essential that it

improves its performance with regard to ensuring that private healthcare

providers comply with their rulings,’ it said.



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