Plastic surgeons are to bring in a financial protection scheme for their patients, it was announced today.
The British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), which represents the vast majority of NHS plastic surgeons in private practice, was able to work with the world's leading specialist insurance market, Lloyd's of London, to create a policy that will safeguard all patients of surgeons who are part of the Association, it said.
The Aesthetic Surgery Commitment or ASC policy is groundbreaking in that not only does it cover corrective treatment of all the most common complications of surgery (such as infection or bleeding) but also - a world first - capsular contracture, an abnormal reaction of the body to breast implants, a spokeswoman said.
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Up to one in 10 women who have undergone breast augmentation may develop this condition, but historically would have had to pay for corrective surgery themselves.
The announcement comes just days after the publication of the findings of an independent review into cosmetic procedures, chaired by NHS medical director Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, which called for tightening of controls in the industry.
Consultant plastic surgeon and BAAPS president Rajiv Grover said: "In line with Sir Bruce Keogh's recommendations for more safeguards in the aesthetic surgery sector, we are pleased to launch a truly innovative insurance package that will further protect our patients.
"No procedure is risk-free and ASC covers all common complications, so people undergoing surgery with BAAPS members can enjoy peace of mind that they will be looked after, in the unlikely event of any problems."
All the most popular surgical procedures are included. Many of the conditions can develop a month or longer after the procedure is undertaken - and in the case of capsular contracture, it could be several months - so the policy automatically activates on the 29th day after the op and remains live for two years, as during that initial period hospitals would cover any complications.
It is the surgeon rather than the patient who is billed, but pricing starts at as little as £50 for procedures up to the value of £2,000 and cover on a sliding scale is available for surgery worth up to £12,000. Higher cover can be quoted for.