Articles of Association and code of ethics
The Italian Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (AICPE) has been founded in accordance with and for the purposes of Italian Law no. 24 dated 8 March 2017 and the Italian Ministerial Decree dated 2 August 2017.
The duration of the Association is unlimited.
The Association is non-political, non-sectarian and non-profit and its main purpose is the elaboration of the scientific and technical guidelines necessary for the proper conduct of the professional activities of plastic and aesthetic surgeons.
In the context of and in accordance with this purpose, the Association
- regulates the professional activity of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, both as regards medical activities and ethical standards;
- represents Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons in all the institutional, scientific, technical, political bodies at different institutional, regional, national and community levels for the safeguard of the professional and scientific activity of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons;
- promote the scientific, technical and cultural development of its members.
In order to reach the aforementioned purposes, the Association may:
- promote scientific research, even with highly qualified teachers specialised in the field of plastic and aesthetic surgery, who are external to the Association, ensuring proper circulation by publishing the content on the WEB portal of the Association;
- form study groups between members, with the cooperation of public institutions, to provide members with new services, and also consultancy and assistance to be qualified to perform their profession.
- institute direct technical and scientific training courses for the professional advancement of the category;
- institute scholarships, awards and other forms of incentive for young graduates or postgraduate students in aesthetic plastic surgery;
- will be able to institute the national professional Register for the category and keep it in order, verifying that the applicants meet the professional and ethical requirements.
- the Association has a Code of Ethics, which is binding for all members
- will carry out editorial activity, limited to the pursuit of the social purpose, in particular, with regard to the protection and promotion of the discipline of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgery
The Association does not carry out trade union activity for its members or plastic and aesthetic surgeons.
The Association and its legal representatives are independent and autonomous, also with reference to the non-exercise of entrepreneurial activities or participation in them, with the exception of the activities carried out within the framework of the national Continuing Medical Education Programme. You can also set up the territorial articulation through the establishment of Regional and/or Provincial offices in accordance with the rules laid down by the Implementing Regulations. The Association must publish the scientific activity carried out on the institutional website available.
The Association has its statutory seat in Rome.
The Board of Directors may transfer the address of the statutory seat within the same municipality and set up and close sub-offices, administrative and/or representative offices in Italy and abroad.
Membership to the Association is open to all individuals who have the requirements provided for in the Articles of Association. Members may be freelance professionals, university students or hospital staff, who exercise the profession in compliance with the fundamental principles of ethics and professional conduct, who operate in the National Health Service sector, or as freelance professionals who have a career in the field of Aesthetic Plastic Surgery that the Association represents.
Membership is personal and cannot be transferred for any reason to any third party.
- The Ordinary Members of the Association are graduates in Medicine and Surgery who achieved:
- a specialisation in Plastic Surgery at least three years before
- or an equivalent degree issued in another EU member state, in accordance with the Community
rules on the recognition of degrees and titles enabling the exercise of the professions, at least three years before, or an equivalent degree issued in a non-EU member state, but recognised by a decree of the Italian Ministry of Health.
Ordinary Members have voting rights and have the right to participate in elective positions of the Association.
- Full Members are graduates in Medicine and Surgery, who have not achieved a specialisation in Plastic Surgery but have a certificate that proves their qualification and competence in Aesthetic Plastic Surgery for at least eight years.
Full Members have voting rights and have the right to participate in elective positions of the Association.
- Aspiring Members are graduates in Medicine and Surgery who have a specialisation in plastic surgery or a title that demonstrates their qualification and competence in the specialty for less than three years, or, at the discretion of the Board of Directors, those who do not meet the requirements to be Full or Ordinary Members.
Aspiring Members have the right to vote.
- Corresponding Members are foreign medical practitioners who apply for membership and are known for their work and research in aesthetic plastic surgery and collaborate in the scientific activities of the Association.
Corresponding Members have the right to vote.
- Honorary Members are individuals who have made significant scientific contributions in the field of aesthetic plastic surgery.
Honorary Members have the right to vote.
- Specialising Members are students attending schools specialising in Plastic Surgery who apply for membership.
Specialising Members have the right to vote.
- Specialists in related disciplines (Maxillofacial Surgery, Otorhinolaryngology, Ophthalmic Surgery, Dermatology, General Surgery), who, in the context of their professional activities, deal specifically only with certain areas of aesthetic plastic surgery, and who are interested in joining AICPE, may apply, and, if accepted, will have the qualification of AICPE Member-at-large.
Members-at-large have the right to vote.
The application with your curriculum vitae should be submitted to the Secretariat, which shall notify the Board of Directors. The latter will verify that the candidate complies with the requirements referred to in Articles 4 and 5.
Those who do not meet the morality and ethics requirements provided for in these Articles of Association and in the Code of Ethics of the Association and who could be subject to disciplinary proceedings in the cases established by Article 9 of these Articles of Association cannot obtain membership.
The membership application to the Association must be accompanied by the documents proving compliance with the requirements established by Articles 4 and 5 above and any documents the Board of Directors may require to complete the application.
All members have the right and duty to participate in the courses and lessons held by the teachers and by the Members of the Scientific Committee, as well as in the professional training activities, and use the services promoted or organised by the Association.
All members must comply with these Articles of Association, the Implementing Regulation of the Articles of Association, if available, the Code of Ethics, the Code of Conduct of the Order of Medical Practitioners and the decisions of the bodies of the Association.
The members must pay the annual membership fee approved by the Board of Directors, by 28 February of each year. After that date social rights can no longer be exercised by those who have not made the payment; if the delay in payment continues for a further 30 days from the notice sent by the President in accordance with the resolution of the Board of Directors, the Membership will terminate and the Member will cease to be part of the Association.
The termination of the Membership does not remove the obligation to pay any membership fees for the previous years that have still not been settled.
A member can withdraw from the Association membership at any time.
The withdrawal has effect from the year after sending the notice to be sent to the Board of Directors by registered letter with acknowledgement of receipt.
A member who voluntarily withdraws may be subsequently readmitted subject to the conditions referred to in the previous Article 4 and 5, as well as with the payment of past fees if the readmission occurs within four years.
The exclusion of the Member is pronounced by the Assembly, upon the proposal of the Board of Directors in the following cases:
- when one of the requirements provided for in Articles 4 and 5 is lacking
- when the Member is in arrears in payment of annual fees and has failed to pay pursuant to Article 6 above.
The resolution of the exclusion has effect immediately. It can be contested only before the Board of Arbitration.
The member excluded from the Association can be re-admitted at the discretion of the Board of Directors, if he or she has proved the cessation of the facts which have led to the cancellation, except in the hypothesis provided for in Articles 13 and 14 of these Articles of Association.
For new membership applications, the provisions of Article 7 shall apply.
- A member of the Association who is guilty of abuse or misconduct in the practice of his or her profession, the violation of the rules of the Code of Ethics, of those in these Articles of Association or Implementing Regulation, or of facts that do not conform to professional dignity and integrity, or has been sentenced to a penal sentence for intentional crimes, shall be subject to disciplinary proceedings.
- The disciplinary sanctions that may be applied according to the gravity of the cases are:
- written reprimand;
- The written reprimand is issued in the case of misconduct. It is applied in cases of behaviour that breach the requirements of the Articles of Association or the Code of Ethics, of no particular severity.
- Besides the cases of suspension from the practice of the profession, prepared as a result of a decision of a Judicial Authority or the order of physicians with which the Member is registered, the following lead to the rightful suspension from membership:
- the sentence for an intentional offence against property or public faith;
- the issuance of an interim injunction such as a warrant or order of capture;
- in all cases where it is necessary to safeguard, as a precautionary measure, the dignity and the decorum of the Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, in general, and of the Association and its members in particular.
- The suspension, in general, has the same duration as the fact that determined it. The final decision on radiation might follow.
After the decision of suspension, the Member may not exercise any right pertaining to the quality of the Member. If he or she is a member of a body of the Association, it will cease with immediate effect.
- The Board of Arbitration may suspend on a precautionary basis, on the appeal of the person concerned, the decision of forfeiture by the body to which they belong, if the suspension has been imposed for a period of less than three months.
- The following result in immediate radiation: conviction in a criminal court by a final judgement which has the force of res judicata facts also not pertaining to the exercise of the professional activity; the disqualification from exercising the profession for a period of more than one year.
Radiation in the cases provided for by these Articles is declared by the Assembly, upon proposal of the Board of Directors.
- No disciplinary sanction may be imposed if the person has been invited to appear before the Board of Directors to be heard on the disputed facts.
- The deliberations of disciplinary severity can be notified within thirty days to the person concerned and to the competent Order of Physicians with jurisdiction over the resolution of the Board of Directors and may be contested within 30 days from its communication, by the person concerned to the Board of Arbitration.
- The member expelled from the Association may be readmitted, provided that at least four years have passed since the decision of expulsion and, if this was issued as a result of criminal conviction, he or she has been rehabilitated. In any case, the person expelled must have been of irreproachable behaviour after expulsion.
- The disciplinary action shall expire after three years.
The Statutory Bodies of the Association are the Assembly, the Board of Directors, the Scientific Committee and the Board of Arbitration.
All the Members of the Association’s statutory bodies must meet the requirement of autonomy and independence from public or private firms, companies and economic bodies. They cannot engage in any entrepreneurial activity, either directly or through a third person, with the exception of the activities carried out within the framework of the national programme on Continuing Medical Education (CME).
All the offices held within the Association’s statutory bodies are not paid.
The General Assembly shall:
- approve financial balance and the budget;
- elect its own President, Deputy President, Board Members, Secretary, Treasurer and Arbitrators;
- approve the exclusion of Members, upon the proposal of the Board of Directors;
- approve the addresses and the general directives of the Association to pursue its purposes;
- establish the amount of the annual membership fee upon the proposal of the Board of Directors;
- approve the dissolution of the Association and transfer of its assets;
- approve other amendments to the Articles of Association, the Code of Ethics and any other subject proposed by the Board of Directors or one-fifth of the Full Members;
- approve the Implementing Regulation.
The Ordinary General Assembly of members is convened by the President (or, in his absence, by the appointed Deputy President) at least once a year to approve the budget and final balance. The Ordinary General Assembly of members may be attended only by the Members in good standing with the payment of annual fees.
The Ordinary General Assembly is validly constituted in a double meeting, with the presence of 50% of the Members in the first call, and with the presence of 1/5 of the Members, in the second call.
The notice of the meeting, to be made by means of a letter transmitted by mail, fax or e-mail, must specify the location, day and time as well as the items on the agenda. The notice of the assembly must be sent at least 15 days in advance, except in cases of urgency in which it must be issued by telefax or email, at least 5 days earlier.
The decisions are taken by a majority of votes of the attendees.
The Extraordinary General Assembly of members is summoned on the initiative of the Board of Directors or upon the reasoned written request of 1/5 of the Members, for the adoption of amendments to the Articles of Association or the liquidation of the Association. The Extraordinary General Assembly is validly constituted with the presence of 33% of Members and shall act by a majority of votes of the attendees. Only Members in good standing with the payment of annual fees may take part in the Extraordinary General Assembly. A Member may be represented at Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assemblies and the proxy may only be granted to another Member; each Member can only represent another Member. Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assemblies are chaired by the President or, in case of his absence or impediment, by the Deputy President. The Secretary of the Assembly is the Secretary of the Association. For the dissolution of the Association, at least 2/3 of the Members must express a favourable vote.
Decisions regarding the expulsion of Members shall be adopted by secret ballot; in this case, the scrutineers are three Members.
The President is elected by secret ballot by the ordinary and statutory members with a term of office of two years and is not immediately re-eligible. He or she has all of the powers of representation of the Association and presides over the General Assembly and the Board of Directors.
The President convenes the General Assembly and the Board of Directors and is in charge of implementing the decision taken by the General Assembly and the Board of Directors. The President may propose to the Board of Directors specific responsibilities to individual Board Members or the delegation of powers for the fulfilment of individual acts, which he or she must approve.
The President is the legal representative of the Association and is the only one who can speak in the name of the Association itself.
It may delegate and/or authorise the Members of the Board of Directors who so request, to represent and/or speak in the name of the Association.
The Deputy President is elected by secret ballot by the ordinary and statutory members, has a term of office of two years and is not immediately re-eligible.
Assists the President in his action, replacing him or her when absent.
The Deputy President’s vote is decisive in the case of a tied vote, only if the President is absent.
The Board of Directors has the power of ordinary and extraordinary administration.
The Board of Directors consists of the President, the Deputy President, the Secretary, the Treasurer and five Board Members. The election of the Board Members takes place during the General Assembly; the Ordinary and Statutory AICPE Members that obtain the highest number of votes shall be elected Members; in the case of resignation, he or she shall be replaced by the first non-elected member. The Board Members shall remain in office for two years and are immediately re-elected once. For the election of the Board of Directors and the Bodies of Authority, the General Assembly votes by secret ballot.
The Board of Directors must be convened by the President at least four times a year.
The Board of Directors may decide to meet via conference call or using other telecommunication systems.
In this case, the President of the meeting should be allowed to ascertain the identity of the participants, regulate the meeting, ascertain and proclaim the results of voting; should be allowed to the person taking the minutes to adequately perceive the events of the meeting; that the participants are able to participate in the discussion and voting on the matters on the agenda, as well as to view, receive or transmit documents.
Such conditions holding, the meeting of the Board of Directors is considered held in the place where the President is.
The decisions of the Board of Directors are valid with the presence (physical or via electronic communication) of at least 5 members.
The Board of Directors shall make decisions based on a majority of those present.
In the event of a tie vote, the President's vote is decisive.
The Board of Directors:
The Board of Directors has the power of ordinary and extraordinary administration.
- It promotes the dissemination of the results of the work of the Scientific Committee;
- It organises Congresses, Meetings, Symposia and other scientific and technical meetings in the field of plastic and aesthetic surgery;
- It assesses the opportunity to release funding for scientific initiatives promoted by the Members or other Scientific Societies;
- It prepares and presents to the General Assembly of Members for approval the annual final balance and budget of the Association, as well as the report on scientific development and on the economic situation of the Association;
- It implements the decisions of the General Assembly of Members;
- It intervenes, upon the request of the parties, to prevent disputes between members regarding the professional activity;
- It prepares the rules of the Association and the Code of Ethics, to be submitted to the approval of the Assembly;
- It decides on the opening of offices and sections in the regions and autonomous provinces.
- It organises professional training courses for the Members for the in-depth study of the specialty and monitors the development of its research activities;
- It protects the image of the Association in each office; supervises the professional ethical behaviour of Members, in particular as regards the advertising of health which must be carried out with decorum and dignity appropriate to the medical profession.
The Treasurer is elected by the ordinary Assembly by a majority vote. Is elected as the Ordinary or Statutory Member that reports the highest number of votes, by secret ballot. The Treasurer shall remain in office for two years and is immediately re-elected only once.
- maintains all the economic, legal, and scientific practices concerning the Association;
- in consultation with the Board of Directors, it administrates the assets of the Association and the preparation of the final balance and the budget.
If for any reason, the Treasurer’s position becomes vacant, the Secretary shall assume interim powers until the date the Assembly is convened.
The Secretary is elected by the Ordinary General Assembly by a majority vote. The Ordinary or Statutory Member who obtains the highest number of votes by secret ballot is elected. The Secretary's term in office lasts two years and is immediately re-elected only once.
- assists the President in the organisation of the Association’s activities, drafts the minutes of the meetings of the Board of Directors and the minutes of the General Assembly, takes care of ordinary correspondence;
- is the Secretary of the Ordinary and Extraordinary General Assembly. If, for any reason, the Secretary’s position becomes vacant, the Treasurer, shall take on the relevant powers ad interim until the date on which the assembly is convened.
The Board of Directors shall appoint the Scientific Committee’s members every two years, even among professionals or university professors who are not members of the Association, provided they are renowned professionals.
The Scientific Committee has the task to verify and check the quality of the activities carried out and of the technical and scientific output of the Association, to be carried out according to scientific productivity and bibliometric indexes validated by the international scientific community that from time to time will be defined by individual regulations. The Scientific Committee also coordinates research, clinic and training activities. The Committee is composed of three to seven members. The Committee has the option to submit to the Board of Directors scientific proposals to carry out the research and training activities pursued by the Association.
The Committee may establish its own rules of procedure.
The Board of Arbitration is a third-party body unlike the other executive bodies of the Association.
The Board of Arbitration consists of three members, Ordinary or Statutory Members elected by the General Assembly by secret ballot. They remain in office for two years and are immediately re-elected only once. The Board of Arbitration on the request of any member and/or upon the invitation of the Board of Directors, or if it comes to know about a situation under its responsibility, shall decide on any dispute between Members, and between members and the Association’s Bodies and on the observance of the Code of Ethics of the Association.
The Board of Arbitration chooses its own Coordinator as soon as it has been elected.
The Coordinator of the Arbitrators or the Board of Arbitration, upon the invitation of the President, participates, without the right to vote, at meetings of the Board of Directors. If prevented from doing so, he or she shall appoint another Arbitrator.
On the occasion of the meetings of the Board of Directors, the Secretary shall deliver to the Coordinator of Arbitrators the files relating to disputes and to disciplinary cases that have arisen in recent times.
The Coordinator of the Arbitrators shall submit the dossiers to the other Arbitrators, hold hearings of the Members concerned and will provide at the next Board of Directors the conclusions of the investigation, proposing at the same time sanctions agreed on with the other Arbitrators. The Board of Arbitration, in agreement with the Board of Directors and on behalf of the General Assembly, shall communicate the results of the investigations and/or any sanctions to the Council of the Order of physicians with jurisdiction for the territory of the Members concerned.
The financial year closes on 31st July of each year. At the end of each financial year, the Board of Directors will proceed with the preparation of the financial statements to be submitted for approval, together with the programme of activities for the new year, and the budget proposal, at the General Assembly to be convened not later than 120 days after the end of the year.
The Association must publish on the institutional website the budget and final balance, as well as the remunerated positions assigned.
The Assets comprise:
- the movable and immovable property of the Association;
- any legacies and donations explicitly intended to increase the assets;
- any residual assets of the previous years explicitly allocated to the assets.
The Association provides for the financing of its activities:
- with the fees paid by the Members to the extent established by the General Assembly;
- with the contributions of supporters;
- with the income generated by the assets;
- with any contributions by third parties.
The Association pursues a programme of refresher training and lifelong education for its members, holding CME (Continuing Medical Education) training events.
To this end, it puts in place all the necessary means to verify the type and quality of the activities carried out.
CME activities are funded through self-financing, the contributions of the Members and/or public or private bodies, including contributions of the pharmaceutical industries and medical devices, in compliance with the criteria and limits established by the National Commission for continuous training.
Only Full and Ordinary Members can use AICPE’s name and/or logo on letterhead, business cards, publications, symposia, conferences, other printed material, or on the Internet.
The Board of Directors shall issue a specific regulation on the use of the logo.
If other categories of members use the logo, the Member shall receive an official letter of admonition from the Board of Arbitration and will be subsequently expelled if the violation is recurrent.
In the event of dissolution of the Association, the residual assets, after liquidation is completed, are devolved, upon the decision of the Assembly, to other initiatives with similar purposes, always in compliance with the applicable regulations.
Each member of the Association’s statutory bodies, who retains to be aware of a possible conflict of interest in carrying out a particular task or in the context of a resolution, shall immediately inform the other members of the body and the President, stating the nature, terms and extent of the interest due to which there could be a potential conflict.
After bringing the disputed resolution to the agenda, the Member shall not be entitled to express his or her vote on the subject of the resolution. The member of the body must, however, be counted for purposes of determining the quorum to convene.
Once declared a conflict and abstained the person concerned, the body must express an opinion on the resolution that is being disputed and motivating appropriately the convenience for the Association to carry out the transaction that is the object of the conflict itself.
In cases of non-compliance with the applicable procedure, the resolutions issued can be contested within a period of 90 days from their date of issuance.
The member of the body in breach of the procedure is liable for damages that are derivative to the Association by its action or its omission.
- The Member must respect the National Code of Ethics, as published by the National Federation of the Orders of Physicians, Surgeons and Dentists (FNOMCeO) and the Code of Ethics, as set forth in the Implementing Regulation.
- The conduct of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons, even when not exercising the profession, shall respect the decorum and dignity of the profession, in harmony with the principles of solidarity, humanity and civic engagement.
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons must collaborate and be available as much as possible in their relationship with the professional Order.
- Doctors must know the rules of this Code, and if this is not the case, they will not be released from their disciplinary liability.
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons who are members of AICPE carry out their professional activity with commitment, diligence and professionalism, without any discrimination, in obedience to the universal law of human and social solidarity in addition to the applicable internal and community regulations.
- They fulfil their duties with professional knowledge and conscience. They must observe and enforce laws and regulations, rejecting any influence that is foreign to the dignity of their function, and must observe the obligation of professional secrecy, provided that this does not affect their morality, does not damage third parties and does not interfere with the course of justice.
- In the exercise of their profession, they must maintain with everyone relationships based on the exact fulfilment of their duties and the decent protection of their rights.
- The use of non-conventional practices cannot derogate from the respect of the integrity and dignity of the profession and is expressed in the exclusive scope of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons’ direct professional responsibility, which cannot be delegated. The use of non-conventional practices should not, however, subtract the patient from specific and scientifically proven treatments and should always request detailed information and obtain consent.
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons cannot collaborate in any way or encourage the exercise of any third party who is not a medical practitioner in the field of the so-called non-conventional practices.
- They must avoid every form and conduct of unfair competition and maintain relations of cordial and loyal understanding with their colleagues and with other health and social professionals, inspired by the mutual respect that the ethical and social principle demands.
- In their activity as a medicolegal expert, they must avoid any form of incorrect advice that may cause unjust damage to other members, under penalty of referral to the Board of Arbitration. A court-appointed or party-appointed expert must only interpret the available scientific evidence while in the perspective of the sponsored in the respect of scientific objectivity and dialectics as well as of prudence in the assessment of the conduct of the parties involved. The performance of medicolegal services which do not comply with these provisions, is not only an offence sanctioned by law, but is injurious to the professional integrity, and therefore is punishable, subject to referral to the Board of Arbitration.
- In the exercise of their activity as freelance professionals, without prejudice to the principle of direct agreement between the medical practitioner and the patient and in compliance with the professional integrity, the fee should be commensurate to the difficulty, the complexity and quality of the service, taking account of the skills and resources involved. Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons must announce their fees to the Patient in advance. The payment of compensation for professional services should not be conditional on the results of the performance.
- The medical practitioner may, in special circumstances, work free of charge, provided that such behaviour may not be advertised and become, as a consequence, unfair competition or illicit customer poaching.
- They must not engage in activities that are incompatible with their profession or may damage in any way personal integrity and the integrity of the category to which they belong.
- They must feel the duty to update and refine their professional knowledge, to better operate and elevate their professional prestige.
- The advertising of health care information, provided by individuals or health care facilities, cannot derogate, in their form and in content, from the principles of correctness, responsibility and professional integrity.
- Promotional and comparative advertising is prohibited.
- In order to allow patients to choose facilities, services, and professionals freely and consciously it is essential that the information, disseminated via any mean, is not arbitrary and discretionary, but objective, truthful, and accompanied by objective, controlled data and verified by the Order of competent jurisdiction.
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons who participate in, collaborate or provide sponsorship or testimony to health information must never derogate from the principles of scientific rigour, intellectual honesty and prudence, excluding any form, even indirect, of personal commercial advertising or for others.
- Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons must not disclose news about advances in biomedical research and innovations in the health care field, not yet validated and accredited from the scientific point of view, in particular if they are likely to promote unfounded expectations and illusory hopes.
Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons should never take part in industrial, commercial or other enterprises that affect the dignity and the professional independence and must not establish direct or indirect agreements with other health care professionals who carry out industrial or commercial activities pertaining to the exercise of their profession.