Harley Medical Group Falls Foul of Hackers

It’s not just individuals who can end up falling foul of internet hackers – it happens to companies too – and there’s nothing worse than worrying that your personal details may have been accessed by an unauthorised and unscrupulous person.

The other week, the Harley Medical Group was reportedly targeted by cyber criminals, leading the company to write to its customers and warn them that nearly 500,000 potential clients may have had their personal records accessed. According to an article in The Telegraph, around 480,000 personal records were lifted from Harley’s website enquiry form facility, which is used by prospective patients to contact the company with enquiries about cosmetic surgery. The stolen data included the names, home addresses, email addresses, contact numbers, and dates of birth of the clients, along with information detailing what type of procedure they were enquiring about.

HMG told customers that there was no breach of financial or clinical data, and reassured them that both the police and the Information Commissioner’s Office had been made aware of the security breach as soon as the hacking attempt came to light. HMG’s chairman, Peter Boddy, says that the company has now taken steps to improve the security of their website, although a security expert referred to by The Telegraph believes the breach was only possible because of the Group’s “sloppy security”, and accused it of failing to protect its customers’ data.

The hacking scandal is the latest drama to affect the Harley Medical Group, which has also come under fire in the national press in recent months for deliberately going into administration and subsequently reopening to avoid paying compensation to PIP implant victims. The company was previously known as the Harley Medical Centre, which operated dozens of clinics around the UK. In 2012, HMC declared bankruptcy, claiming that the high risk of legal action from PIP patients was likely to put it out of business. However, just days later, the company re-opened its clinics under a new name.

New regulations being introduced by the Department of Health should prevent this type of scenario occurring in future, as all senior management and directors will be subjected to a “fit and proper person test’ before being granted a licence.

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Young Star of Fixers Campaign looks at Perceptions of Cosmetic Surgery

While many of us choose to undergo cosmetic surgery in later life in a bid to combat the ageing process, others seek help at a far earlier age. While many men and women who’ve undergone surgery in their 20s are more than happy with the outcome, there are some who look back and wonder whether rushing to the operating table was really the right decision.

The Fixers campaign encourages young people to help others and enlighten them on issues which are particularly important to them. The campaign receives funding from The National Lottery, and so far, over 12,000 Fixers from across the UK have been involved in a variety of projects, many of which have been showcased on TV. Subject matters have included eating disorders, cyber-bullying, youth offending, and drugs, and 20-year-old Zoe Wyatt from Hampshire recently appeared on ITV News Meridian to encourage other youngsters to think twice before undergoing cosmetic surgery.

In 2013, Zoe underwent a procedure to adjust her jaw because she was unhappy with the way she looked. A year later, she’s come to realise that there was actually nothing wrong with her jaw in the first place, and regrets not knowing how long the recovery time would actually be. Zoe’s Fixers project includes raising awareness of the seriousness of cosmetic surgery among young adults, as she worries that surgery is “turning into the norm”. Likewise, some of the students Zoe interviewed at Bournemouth University spoke of the “pressure to get [procedures] done”. Zoe’s Fixers film is called “Irreversible” and it highlights the fact that once certain types of procedures are performed, there’s no going back if you change your mind.

Safer Cosmetic Surgery and all of our surgeons applaud Zoe for tackling this tricky issue, and agree that young people should not bow to pressure from friends or peers, try to copy celebrities, or undergo a procedure to combat low self-esteem. Zoe wants people to realise that procedures don’t always magically “sort all of your problems out” and, as a professional interviewed in Zoe’s Fixers interview points out, youngster’s expectations of a positive outcome following surgery are sometimes unrealistically high. Beauty, as they say, is only skin deep, and the negative emotions which lie behind our skin cannot be resolved by surgery alone.

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Crackdown on Bust Cosmetic Surgery Firms Opening New Clinics

According to a recent article in the Daily Mail online newspaper, cosmetic surgery firms which go bankrupt to avoid paying their former patients compensation will be prevented from opening new clinics. One such example of a firm which has risen like a phoenix from the flames is The Harley Medical Centre. In 2012, the chain of clinics went into administration to avoid having to stump up potentially vast volumes of cash to compensate as many as 13,000 patients who had received faulty PIP implants. While the Centre’s management claimed the decision to shut up shop was due to the risk of the company being put out of business by such costly legal action, low and behold, the Centre’s clinics reopened just days later under a similar name of The Harley Medical Group and once again started treating patients.

Thanks to a planned governmental crackdown, those in charge of such clinics will no longer be able to go bust and reopen in such a short space of time in the future. Instead, when the directors and managers apply for a health clinic licence, they will be subject to a “fit and proper person test” by the Department of Health. According to the Minister for Care and Support, Norman Lamb, the test will enable the government to ensure that the people in charge of health clinics and surgeries “are up to the job” and “remove those who are not”.

While the new regulations may come too late for many of the thousands of women affected by the PIP implant scandal, it should go some way towards ensuring that this situation never reoccurs. Many patients were left with no financial support to get their faulty breast implantsremoved or replaced, and no company still trading to provide advice, take ownership of the situation, and provide them with compensation.

Even those who’ve been unaffected by PIPs welcome the new crackdown, with some of the readers’ comments on the Daily Mail article saying directors who try to “outrun their creditors” should be “slung in jail”. Another reader says that ALL companies should be banned from “phoenixing”, and that allowing them to reinvent themselves is “legalised theft”.

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Body Contouring Surgery Guide to Tackle Postcode Lottery

Around the middle of last month, a new guide was launched as a result of a collaboration between RCS (the Royal College of Surgeons) and BAPRAS (the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive, and Aesthetic Surgeons), which aims to provide a fairer and better-quality service for potential body contouring surgery patients.

Following research across primary care trusts in England, statistics show that the current provision of body contouring surgery in the country differs dramatically, with 23 out of 67 English trusts excluding any mention of this type of procedure. Even in locations where existing guidance is available, the service received by patients tends to differ dramatically, as proved by the finding that 38 out of 100 Scottish patients who were authorised for operations would have been denied surgery if they’d been vetted using PCT guidance used in Leeds.

This particular type of operation involves reconstructive surgery that is performed after a person has undergone serious weight loss. It helps to remove the areas of excess skin left on the stomach, hips, thighs, arms, and other areas, which cannot be shifted through exercise and diet due to the loss of skin elasticity. The President of BAPRAS, Graeme Perks, says that patients should be enabled to have sagging skin left by excessive weight loss removed to prevent them from becoming “demoralised” and thus putting the weight back on as a result. He also claims that the health benefits of removing excess skin are well worth the financial cost to the NHS of around £20,000 if the patient was to remain obese.

The guide launched by BAPRAS and RCS aims to address the current differences in the quality of care and approval criteria for prospective patients, as well as a code of best practice for surgeons and medical professionals. The guide also recommends that a mandatory register detailing each operation is set up. Experts hope that the guide will better help GPs to refer people who approach them about body contouring surgery by giving them clear criteria to assess each patient. A spokesperson for RCS hopes the new guide will “stop unfair postcode lotteries” which are preventing desperate patients from receiving this type of surgery.

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How Ear Re-Shaping Could Help Boost your Self-Confidence

While many of us are well aware of popular cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast enlargements, tummy tucks, liposuction, facelifts, and facial fillers, some other types of surgery are far less well-known. One particular procedure that’s not mentioned half as much as those mentioned above in the daily media is ear-reshaping. However, it’s a form of surgery that’s helped countless men and women regain their self-confidence.

Many of us suffer from protruding ears from an early age, while others just seem to be cursed by ears that simply look too big in comparison to the size of our head and face. Not only can this lead to jokes being made at your expense, but it can also lead to women feeling they have to constantly hide their most hated assets underneath their hair, and men feeling helpless to hide them at all.

If you suffer from this particular affliction, you may not realise that there’s a simple, corrective procedure available which could help change your life forever. When you make an appointment with a SaferCosmeticSurgery surgeon to talk about ear reshaping surgery (also known as Otoplasty), he or she will look at the dimensions and appearance of your facial features and head in comparison with your ears. Provided they agree that your ears do stick out further than normal or simply appear too large, they can perform a procedure to correct the issue - often under local anaesthetic, which means you’ll be able to go home the same day.

The procedure usually entails remodelling the cartilage into a more pleasing shape that’s more in proportion to the rest of your features. The ears are then ‘pinned back’ to bring them closer to your head. As many as 1% of people in the UK believe that their ears stick out too much, while this doesn’t normally affect your hearing capacity, it can certainly leave you feeling embarrassed and self-conscious.

If you’d like to know more about Otoplasty, you can contact us on 0800 622 6262 for further information today. Alternatively, we can book you in for a consultation with one of our top surgeons and, because we firmly believe in our patients’ right to choose, you’ll even be able to pick which surgeon you wish to talk to.


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Olympics Star, Rebecca Adlington, Undergoes Nose Job

25-year-old Rebecca Adlington, who shot to fame in the Beijing Olympics in 2008 when she won two gold medals, followed by a further two bronze medals at London 2012, has finally sought surgery on her nose. The ex-swimmer has previously talked about how much she hated her looks, and says she’s received many cruel comments on Twitter about the size and shape of her nose.

Rebecca was never able to entertain the idea of cosmetic surgery before despite wanting to, as she was only able to take two weeks off every year during her career as a swimmer. However, she’s recently been seen out and about with friends sporting some fairly dramatic results after visiting a clinic in London to undergo a rhinoplasty procedure. During the surgery, Rebecca’s nose was reduced in size and a bump removed.

The former swimmer says that she struggled with being in the constant spotlight when she picked up medals at both the Beijing and London Olympics, and asked herself, “Why do people judge me for the way I look?” She adds that she was always rather insecure about her looks when she was growing up, and admits she “wasn’t the most attractive girl at school.” As an adult, Rebecca says she’s noticed a distinct inequality among the sexes regarding personal appearance, and says that men don’t get comments about their weight or looks in the same way that women do. Even the controversial Scottish comedian, Frankie Boyle, picked on the swimming sensation during an episode of TV’s Mock the Week, saying Rebecca “looks like someone who’s looking at themselves in the back of a spoon.”

Rebecca’s rhinoplasty surgery is likely to have taken around two hours for her surgeon to perform. As both the size of her nose and a bump were reduced, the operation probably involved what’s known as open surgery. This is when a cut is made in between the nostrils and allows the surgeon improved access to the area needing to be operated on. The patient normally wears a temporary cast for the first seven to ten days, and any swelling is normally gone within a matter of weeks.


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