Letters: Plastic surgeons should communicate with GPs

I would like to comment on GP's survey (GP, 14 February), particularly in the light of my own article (GP, 14 December 2007).

While many commercial clinics do not appear to contact the GP directly, we would expect that all members of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgery (BAPRAS) would contact the GP in respect of a patient seen and provide details.

The only exception would be in the rare circumstance when a patient specifically requests that the GP not be informed (in which case the surgeon has to accept responsibility for the ongoing care of the patient).

Most reputable surgeons encourage patients to use their GP as an adviser will involve the GP, either by correspondence or directly, about any woundcare complication.

GPs may not be able to predict the benefits of cosmetic surgery; this is not surprising given the amount of training that plastic surgeons receive before feeling confident in this themselves.

It is therefore important that the GP selects a surgeon who has a known reputation, practices locally, is on the specialist GMC register and is someone with whom the GP can communicate.

The survey reveals a need for improved knowledge transfer for colleagues in primary care and BAPRAS will take steps to make this happen.

Professor Simon Kay, vice president, BAPRAS

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