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