Do I need a GP referral to have cosmetic surgery?

doctorThere are a lot of things to think about when you’re considering cosmetic surgery. If you’ve never gone under the knife, then you may be wondering whether you first need to see your GP. Many people are reluctant to visit their doctor prior to having a procedure out of fear that they will try to talk them out of it. So do you need a GP referral and will your surgeon need to speak to them before they operate?

NHS versus private cosmetic surgery referrals

The majority of cosmetic surgery is carried out privately. However, there are times when the NHS may pay for certain procedures. The only time you may qualify to have free cosmetic surgery using the NHS is if it can be proven you are suffering significant psychological distress because of your appearance. Even then, it’s likely you will need to undergo counselling or psychotherapy before surgery is considered.

If you decide to go through the NHS, you will need a GP referral. If you go to a private clinic, then a referral isn’t required.

Will the surgeon need to talk to my GP?

While you may not need a referral to have cosmetic surgery, your surgeon will need to talk to your GP before they operate. This is because they need to find out more about your medical history for safety reasons.

It could be that you’re on specific medications that could affect the type of treatment you should receive. Or you may have had a recent surgery and having a cosmetic procedure might not be safe for another few months. The surgeon needs to know everything about your recent medical history and whether there’s anything that could affect the procedure.

Of course, there are some surgeons out there who will not chat with your GP first. However, never trust a surgeon who does not carry out proper checks prior to surgery. There are a lot of inexperienced surgeons carrying out cosmetic procedures purely for the money. Going with this type of surgeon increases the chances of something going wrong.

Overall you don’t need a referral unless you’re hoping to have a procedure on the NHS. However, it is highly advised that you chat with your GP before booking a cosmetic surgery consultation. They will be able to establish whether you’re healthy enough for the surgery.