Reality TV show Love Island is encouraging too many young people to undergo cosmetic surgery – and it is costing the NHS, a health minister has warned.
Jackie Doyle-Price, the minister for mental health and suicide prevention, said anyone thinking of a breast enlargement or lip fillers must check that the practitioner is qualified.
She disclosed figures showing that at least one NHS hospital has seen a six-fold rise in corrective procedures following cut-price cosmetic surgery abroad.
The minister blamed reality shows such as Love Island, The Only Way Is Essex and Absolutely Ascot for the rise of cosmetic surgery because young people receive unrealistic ideas about body image.
Contestants such as Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson have spoken openly about undergoing such surgery. But Miss Doyle-Price said: ‘Love Island sits atop lots of things which put across a generally unrealistic picture of body image.
‘We also see it in The Only Way Is Essex and Absolutely Ascot – everyone is having lip fillers and boob jobs.
‘If people want to change aspects of their appearance that is fine, but they need to understand that all these procedures come with risk.’
She said one study at the Royal London Hospital last year found a six-fold rise in cases needing follow-up care from procedures done abroad since 2013. The hospital spent more than £63,000 to repair botched overseas surgery.
The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London had to treat 12 patients with infected fillers in the past year at a cost of £40,000.
Miss Doyle-Price said a recent episode of ITVBe’s Absolutely Ascot showed someone getting lip fillers. She said: ‘These so-called reality TV series are still promoting lifestyles which are semi-fantasy.
‘No one should feel they have to aspire to be like these people. It’s not real – and it can lead to real harm and cost to the NHS.’
The minister added: ‘People now view lip fillers as common as getting a haircut – but lip filling is far more risky than a bad haircut.’
Miss Doyle-Price warned against going to places such as Turkey, India and eastern Europe for inexpensive operations. ‘Please don’t do it because the NHS is having to put problems right,’ she said.