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Cosmetic industry to face sales 'restrictions'

The cosmetic surgery industry will face tighter restrictions over its sales and marketing techniques after the public labelled some companies “too aggressive”.

According to an interim report by the NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh, people want to see a ban on 'two for one' limited time deals for cosmetic surgery as well as an end to surgical procedures being offered as 'competition prizes'.

Respondents, who were made up of the public, cosmetic surgery industry and patient groups, also suggested consultations for surgery should be carried out by a medical professional and not a sales advisor, as well as an end to the practice of free consultations for cosmetic surgery to make sure patients do not feel “obliged” to go through with cosmetic surgery procedures.

“Aggressive marketing techniques are often used to maximise profit,” said Vivienne Parry, a review committee member.

“This may be the right approach for selling double glazing but not for people having or considering whether to have surgery.

"Everyone who decides to have cosmetic surgery should have time to think about the risks. Time limited deals and offers on voucher websites pressure people to make snap decisions.”

The public feedback is expected to influence the work of Sir Bruce's review, which was ordered by the Health Secretary in January 2012 in the wake of the PiP breast implant scandal.

The review will publish its recommendations in March 2013.

One year on since the PiP breast implant scandal emerged, almost 8,000 women who had their implants put in privately, have turned to the NHS for help.

Of these women, 5,255 have had scans and 633 have chosen to have their implants removed on the NHS. Just over 400 operations have been carried out, leaving 4,328 women requiring no further help from the NHS at this time.

"It has been a worrying year for women affected by the PiP scare,” said Health Minister Lord Howe.

“It has been our number one priority since this issue came to light 12 months ago to make sure women have been kept well informed and received the appropriate clinical advice and care.

“We want to do everything we can to prevent anything like this happening again. We can't stop someone in another country committing a crime - as happened in this case - but we can make sure that people are properly supported and that they get all the information they need before deciding to have cosmetic surgery.”