The Times newspaper asked us to comment on a piece they were writing about MYA advertising Finance and for being on Love Island. Below is our response:
Your questions are based on a series of clear factual errors leading you to paint a false and misleading picture of the patient-focused service that we offer. Those who are financially vulnerable will simply not meet the financial eligibility criteria of the third parties that we work alongside, with the most obvious and striking mistake being that only 23% of applicants secure a loan. Not the ridiculous 99% that you have quoted.
Not everyone can have cosmetic surgery with MYA. We carry out a range of health and suitability checks and we do not operate on anyone under the age of 18. The operating surgeon must believe that the patient has realistic expectations, that the procedure will make a positive long-term difference and that it has been very carefully considered. Of course, no surgery is without risk and we explain this in detail as well as giving cooling off periods for the patient to further reflect. Only a small percentage of those that contact us are suitable for surgery.
We understand at MYA that cosmetic surgery is, to some, a controversial subject and certainly a misunderstood one. With that can come prejudice and in the extreme, a desire to ban cosmetic surgery. However, time and time again we hear patients wish that they had proceeded with surgery earlier but were put off by what people think. If you do not believe that adult women should be able to freely choose to have cosmetic surgery then you will always view our service negatively. However, if you spend time with our patients and get to know them, you will quickly realise that they are strong empowered women who make a considered choice to have a medical procedure that they believe will help them with a long-standing body issue that has affected their lives in many ways.
If you read some of the stories as to why patients have cosmetic surgery, it is truly heartbreaking and the surgery can be genuinely life-changing. Furthermore, we are seeing more and more patients coming to us with asymmetrical breasts, tubular breasts and for breast reductions. In the past, these women would have been treated by the NHS but are now finding that a much more difficult route. What is really interesting is that there are a number of procedures that we carry out with materially enhanced Quality Adjusted Life Years scores. We also talk to many patients years after their procedures who believe that their lives have been enhanced. We are looking to work with research establishments to carry out large scale research into the long-term benefits of cosmetic surgery. Many make assumptions with no or little experience or evidence. We think that many would be surprised as to the research outcomes.
If you believe that cosmetic surgery can have a positive role to play in society then one of the challenges is how to make this accessible. Should a life-changing procedure only be available for the rich and famous? Why shouldn’t a medically and psychologically suitable patient be able to gain assistance to finance their procedure? We choose not to promote on price or to provide our own finance or have a branded credit card like other providers do but we do believe in making the surgery safe and as accessible as possible. If anyone doesn’t have the funds for surgery in their bank account, then they may require support as to what other options are available. A number of our patients will use an independent loan provider regulated by the FCA who must ensure that affordability checks are carried out in line with FCA regulations. Of those that apply, only 23% secure a loan. Some patients do not have a credit rating at all and therefore cannot secure credit directly and for some of these patients, they are lucky enough to get help from, for example, a supportive parent who understands why they are seeking assistance.
We believe in cosmetic surgery and we care about our patients. We monitor patient feedback throughout the process both pre and post-operatively. We currently have a Net Promoter Score of 80. Please compare that to any other service industry and you will see that we must care about our patients. A patient will not only be in contact with a Patient Coordinator but a team of people including nurses, surgeons, anaesthetists as well as people in a variety of additional patient care and support roles. This team-led approach ensures that the right people are available at the right time.
In terms of advertising, we only want to connect with adults. While MYA has worked extensively with news media to provide comments and insights on this year's Love Island cast, we have not aired any advertisements on broadcast TV. All of MYA’s Love Island activity has been targeted through BVOD only, although we are aware that other cosmetic surgery providers have advertised on the linear showing. We see Love Island as an adult-focused show with adult content, which led to our decision to seek out BVOD advertisements in place of linear adverts as we can specifically target 18-34 women.
Please provide a copy of your article, once amended to be factually correct and fairly balanced, and we will be able to provide you with further specific quotes. To try and tarnish us, as you describe, is to present a misleading and bias picture that will create a false impression of our business.