A new cosmetic surgery degree will begin at the Anglia Ruskin University in September 2012. The course is open to all accredited plastic surgeons based in the UK and overseas plastic surgeons will be able to apply for the MSc from 2012.
The UK-based University hopes to put an end to “have-a-go surgeons” and wants Aesthetic plastic surgery to be recognised in its own right. The course will be very “hands on” and will prepare graduates for work in private practices as well as the NHS.
According to Professor James Frame, a surgeon who will help run the new course, newly-qualified surgeons lack expertise. He believes that while they are trained to carry out some reconstructive work – like repairing the face of a burns patient, for example – they do not have the experience to carry out cosmetic work like breast augmentations.
Commenting on the degree, Frame said: “Aesthetic plastic surgery is a rapidly enlarging super-speciality that requires recognition in its own right.
“At present a newly qualified, fully-accredited plastic surgeon is released, totally lacking any experience in aesthetic plastic surgery, and is able to operate in the private sector.
“Many surgeons complete their training and, unable to find work in the NHS, have no option but to turn to private groups without that experience.
“There are many competent surgeons but at present there are too many under-qualified surgeons, particularly from elsewhere in the EU, coming over here and operating.”
On the other side of the coin, the president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), Fazel Fatah, said that it was disingenuous to claim that surgeons receive inadequate training in aesthetic surgery in the NHS stating:
“Aesthetic surgery is part of most up-to-date plastic surgery syllabus which has been approved by the General Medical Council – every trainee is taught the basic principles of aesthetic surgery as part of their education and they must undergo a thorough examination to attain the final FRCS (Plast) qualification.
“Precisely for the purpose of further enhancing direct experience, the BAAPS has established a number of Fellowships for those who complete their training and wish to practice aesthetic surgery. The addition of an MSc may be desirable for some but is certainly not necessary for fully qualified plastic surgeons.”
All UK-qualified plastic surgeons also complete Royal College of Surgeons-approved training to do NHS work and a spokesperson for the institute said:
“Surgeons go through extremely rigorous training – it takes around 17 years training to become a consultant – and they continue their professional training in a range of settings and training providers throughout their surgical life to learn new techniques and to further specialise and offer the best care for patients.”
So what are you opinions on this new degree course? Do you think surgeons in the UK need to undergo more thorough training? Let us know your thoughts!