Professor James Frame.
Can you give us a bit of background as to why UKAAPS was set up and what the association focuses on?
The UK Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery was founded at a meeting of like-minded plastic surgeons at the Reform Club in London in 2010. At that point in time the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) and British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) had a significant number of non- plastic surgery members and BAPRAS Council were keen to recommend admitting non- plastic surgeons to full membership with voting rights, interdisciplinary training was advocated, BAAPS had diverged away from the International Society of Plastic Surgery (ISAPS) to affiliate more with European bodies, junior plastic surgeons were unable to get Consultant NHS appointments and the NHS was preventing the training of plastic surgeons in aesthetic surgery by denying admission to NHS hospitals.
UKAAPS members wanted to influence standards within aesthetic surgery training and help well trained plastic surgeons into the private workplace when discarded by the NHS.
UKAAPS also sought and received full recognition by ISAPS as we are the only national plastic surgery association with a membership exclusively containing plastic surgeons. ISAPS also endorsed the Anglia Ruskin Training programme in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that was developed in collaboration between UKAAPS members and the Anglia Ruskin University (ARU), and we are part of the ISAPS Global Alliance. UKAAPS has introduced the concept of patient complications insurance to ISAPS members to prevent undue financial burden upon the NHS and to cover complications related to breast implants. UKAAPS understood medical tourism and campaigned alongside ISAPS to make this safer. UKAAPS members are now part of about 3000 international members of ISAPS that are represented within many countries.
UKAAPS meet regularly and there have now been three major annual meetings associated with Aesthetic Medicine Live at Olympia in London.
Do you see UKAAPS as having a role in educating the public about plastic surgery?
UKAAPS has strong connections with the media and is at the forefront for specialist opinion. UKAAPS does not seek to influence patients by glossy adverts and false reassurances.
UKAAPS are against media marketing in general unless it is responsible and accurate. A surgeon’s CV should be available online including age, availability, experience including special interests, research and peer reviewed publications. We also believe that if statistics are to be believed they have to be accurate. Plastic surgery associations have lost the opportunity to set standards in aesthetic surgery. That has been taken on by a rejuvenated Harley Medical Group who are prepared to publish outcomes and who are prepared to follow-up on bad outcomes data to seek improvement.
The public is heavily influenced by social media but is the duty of the responsible plastic surgeon to sieve unsuitable patients away from aesthetic surgery and potential harm.
What can you tell our readers about the UKAAPS Aesthetic Surgery Training Programme?
UKAAPS has a modern innovative role to play in the education and training of plastic surgeons in aesthetic surgery. By hands-on experienced supervision and rigorously testing of trainees via case studies and outcomes, patients should have reassurance that they are being treated by competent plastic surgeons.
It is well known and accepted by virtually all that newly accredited plastic surgeons are not tested by examination in aesthetic surgery yet most go straight into private practice where both they and patients are vulnerable. The voluntary certification scheme supervised by the Royal College of Surgeons has serious flaws and weaknesses and there is nothing to stop surgeons from other countries setting up lucrative practices in the UK. The MCh programme in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery at the Anglia Ruskin University is available to plastic surgeons wanting to learn the additional skills needed to embrace private practice. It is available to accredited and insured plastic surgeons and supervision can be provided at multiple hospitals within the UK and even abroad. The supervisors are ARU accredited plastic surgeons and the viva examination follows submission of an audited logbook that has to be signed off by independent, appointed examiners. There are 14 surgical competencies included in the programme and these can be seen on the ARU website.
And finally, what are the benefits in becoming a UKAAPS member?
UKAAPS represents plastic surgeons interested in developing safe practices in aesthetic surgery within the UK. UKAAPS is essentially a specialty interest group of plastic surgeons. There is no other forum exclusive to plastic surgeons and it is an opportunity to remain independent of the NHS and regulatory colleges and set our own standards for education and patient care. UKAAPS has a strong association with ISAPS and many overseas surgeons welcome our friendly approach. We have a lot to learn but we have a lot to offer also. We publish and circulate information to members on a regular basis via our UKAAPS website. Our first book on problem solving of patients within the 14 competencies in aesthetic surgery was published by Elsevier in 2018. We are forward thinking and wish to promote safe aesthetic surgery in the UK. Prof James D Frame