Check Qualifications

A qualified plastic surgeon is one that the General Medical Council (GMC) lists as a specialist in plastic surgery, they should be a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons with a speciality in Plastic Surgery and have the letters FRCS (Plast) after their name or have FRCS with NHS Consultant level experience in plastic surgery. (PLEASE NOTE: The reason for this difference in qualifications is that the Royal College of Surgeons only introduced the speciality classification for Plastic Surgery, FRCS (Plast), in 1990. Prior to 1990, a Plastic Surgeon qualified with the Royal College of Surgeons (FRCS) and would then have gained his professional experience working for a minimum of six years within the NHS plastic surgery wards. So, the FRCS (Plast) is an indicator of someone who is fully qualified in Plastic Surgery, but, there are also another group of fully qualified plastic surgeons who became surgeons prior to 1990 and thus they will have the FRCS distinction alone after their names. )

You will soon be able to check our surgeon locator for surgeons that meet the above qualifications and are located in your area.

In addition to the FRCS qualification, membership in one or both of the following professional organizations is desirable: the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) or the British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAPS).

Just because a doctor says that they are a ‘Qualified Cosmetic Surgeon’ does not mean they have any specialist training in Plastic Surgery. This is because Cosmetic Surgery is not recognized as a speciality by the GMC.

There are several ways to check a doctor’s qualifications:

1. Your GP can check that the surgeon is accredited with the General Medical Council. Your GP might even give you the name of a surgeon they can personally recommend.

2. You can go to your local library and ask for the medical directory that lists all accredited UK doctors and their education, training, specialities and professional memberships (unfortunately some libraries don’t have up to date copies and the directory you check should at least be the 1997 edition).

3. You can send a stamped, self addressed A3 envelope to the following address for BAAPS and they will send you a listing of their Full Members*.

British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS)
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PN
Telephone: +44 (0)171 405 2234
Fax: +44 (0)171 430 1840

The classes of BAAPS Membership are as follows:
*Full Members (Only Full Members will be on the BAAPS listing.)
Overseas Associates
Honorary Members
Senior Members
Trainee Associates
Allied Associates
Professional Associates

4. The BAPS does not send out a listing of their members. However, if you have a surgeon’s name, you can ring them or send a letter and they can tell you if the surgeon is a member.

British Association of Plastic Surgeons (BAPS)
The Royal College of Surgeons of England
35-43 Lincoln’s Inn Fields
London WC2A 3PN
Telephone: +44 (0)171 831 5161
Fax: +44 (0)171 831 4041

5. You may also contact the General Medical Council (GMC) at:

General Medical Council
178 Great Portland Street
London W1N 6JE
Telephone: +44 (0) 171 580 7642

The GMC will not be able to send you a list of doctors, but they should be able to answer particular questions about a doctor.

6. If you have doubts about a particular clinic or practice, you can call your Area Medical Authority and they can tell you what license the clinic or practice has (e.g. if they have a license to perform minor surgeries) and in what capacity the license was granted (note: we have heard stories of unscrupulous individuals buying former dental practices and nursing homes because they have the necessary “minor surgical procedures” license).

This information is intended to inform the public of their options when choosing a surgeon to perform cosmetic or plastic surgery and it is not intended as a definitive guide to checking a surgeon’s qualifications, nor should any of the above statements be taken literally or out of context to construe a detriment to the practices of surgeons or doctors that do not fall in with our suggested guidelines.

More resources on Plastic Surgeon Procedures can be found here.