It was a great pity that psychology was not in the ERG remit. Yet, psychologists were members of both the ERG and AG with a psychotherapist also on the ERG. This configuration created conflict and confusion for all members of all groups who were denied the opportunity to fully engage with and understand the role and relevance of independent emotional support for patient safety and how that differs from psychology. The role and relevance of a patient association is crucial given the lack of Ombudsman as per the Keogh recommendations. Powerful industry representatives were not able to engage with the importance of psychological services within their industry for the benefit of patient safety. Without regulation, these safety measures that can be achieved, should be achieved. To ignore them is a tragedy. How many more innocent victims must suffer at the hands of an industry that are too self-absorbed to look at the person behind the profit.
Members of the the recent meeting would be forgiven for thinking that emotional support undermines practitioners and surgeons. (How could you know otherwise without dialogue?) In the meeting I was accused of providing emotional support because ‘I thought surgeons are stupid’. This is a remark that bears no resemblance to the reality of my role as patient support provider. Patients are often unable to integrate both practical and emotional support at the same time from the same person. There are many other reasons why emotional support benefits patients and surgeons but time does not permit that here. I have created an article called The Case for Emotional Support Services in Cosmetic Interventions (which can be supplied on request) to remind you of why independent emotional support services provided by BACP members falls into the Keogh recommendations and is neither psychological screening nor Joint Council or TYCT.
I was criticised for pointing out that patients prefer the word ‘cosmetic’ to the word ‘aesthetic’. I fully appreciate the industry prefers the word ‘aesthetic’ to ‘cosmetic’. However, I must remind industry readers that the original question put to me was: ‘what word do patients use?’. Having provided support as a cosmetic support patient association since 2000, I can say that they use the word ‘cosmetic’ far more than they do ‘aesthetic’. It is the exception to the rule when the word ‘aesthetic’ is used. There is simply no point in blaming me for this. If, as one member suggested, patients should be educated on their terminology then I would suggest the industry provide funding for this because I provide service without funding. Ido not believe patients should have to pay for this additional level of safety that they clearly need.
I would like to remind readers here that, since its inception in 2000, and often in the face of great challenge, Cosmeticsupport has always offered its total support to the BAAPS and BAPRAS surgeons. Whilst it is true that we are often critical of their marketing, we have not wavered in our support of their surgeons.
I would suggest that if anyone wants to know why a patient association is important for this industry and what independent emotional support is that they contact me directly rather than jump to conclusions based on chinese whispers.
Deborah Sandler, MBACP