Further update: Aesthetic licences won't be rushed through, says Government DHSC
February 9, 2023

The Department of Health and Social Care published its awaited response to the 2022 Select Committee Report on the Impact of Body Image on Mental and Physical Health.

In the report, the Government also re-confirmed its commitment to develop a new license for non-surgical practice in England and said it will set new mandatory standards for aesthetic practice, education and training as part of a new licensing scheme in England by July 2023 - although these will not come into force immediately.

What happened before this?

At the end of Janurary, the Government confirmed its commitment to the licensing of the non-surgical aesthetics sector in England in a letter to The JCCP, British Beauty Council, and the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH).

After submitting a joint letter to the Department of Health and Social Care, the industry bodies received a response outlining how the department is designing and implementing a new system of licensing for the industry.

The Minister responsible for taking forward this issue, Maria Caulfield, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Mental Health and Women's Health Strategy, told the associations that “departmental officials will work as quickly as possible to introduce the licensing scheme and will consider all the important areas.”  

She also affirmed the development of future licensing to suit the ever-developing industry, saying: “We know this is a fast-moving sector, and officials will consider how best to future-proof the regulations so that new and emerging treatments are captured by the scheme.”

When will aesthetic treatment licences come into force?

The timetable is not finalised but the Government has now committed to publishing an outline of the licence guidance by July 2023.

In their correspondence with Government, the JCCP, British Beauty Council and CIEH set out key priorities for the Government to action:

  1. The design and implementation of a national licensing scheme for all premises where licensed procedures are conducted as well as practitioners of non-surgical cosmetic procedures to ensure that all those who practise invasive procedures are competent and safe for members of the public (as proposed in Paragraph/Clause 180 of the Health and Care Act, 2022).
  2. A requirement for all practitioners to hold adequate medical insurance in order to provide non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
  3. The development of official guidance on the training and qualification expectations for all practitioners, including knowledge and application of infection controls and first aid training.
  4. The development of a system for the effective recording of adverse incidents and public awareness raising to ensure that all cases that go wrong can be tracked and improvements to safety made as a result. Members of the public need better tools and knowledge in order to protect themselves.

Commenting on the response from Government, Ross Matthewman, head of policy and campaigns at the CIEH, said: “We are delighted to see the Government firmly commit to bringing forwards the new licensing regime for non-surgical aesthetics in England.

"This is an area that we and our partners have campaigned tirelessly on culminating in the amendment to the Health and Care Act allowing the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to create such a scheme."

British Beauty Council chief policy officer Victoria Brownlie added, "We need to create a level playing field to give piece of mind that adequate training, hygiene and safety standards come as standard when having aesthetics treatments – raising the reputation of the sector and professionalising the industry as a whole.”

The JCCP's David Sines added,  “We are reassured by the response received from the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State to the key issues raised in our letter of representation to the Secretary of State and to matters raised directly with the Health and Social Select Committee in recent months which have also been supported by Jeremy Hunt and his colleagues.

“We very much look forward to continuing our engagement with the Government and health care regulators during the forthcoming months to realise the key objective of embedding patient safety and public protection for members of the public who elect to engage with non-surgical procedures within the context of national enforceable legislation.”

What had happened with aesthetic licensing prior to this?

In September, it was revealed that the consultation regarding licences for non-surgical cosmetic procedures was expected to begin at the start of 2023 , with a further consultation on licences for premises later in the year.

The new licensing scheme, which is part of a bill that received royal ascent in May, will be introduced in updates to the Health and Care Act 2022.

The scope and details of the proposed new licensing scheme will be determined by Ministers following a period of engagement and public consultation.

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Procedures (JCCP) said in a statement on September 29 that "the consultation on which procedures are to be covered by the new licensing scheme is likely to begin in the early New Year".

The JCCP added that "it is anticipated that a further consultation will then follow on the licensing of premises later in 2023".

The JCCP is working with partner organisations including the Cosmetic Practice Standards Authority (CPSA), the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and the British Beauty Council to support the design and promotion of new fair and equitable licensing schemes.  

According to the JCCP’s September update, the new licensing scheme is likely to include high street cosmetic treatments which can cause serious harm when not carried out correctly or in a safe environment.

“The scheme must at least cover injectable toxins, dermal fillers, vitamin infusions, platelet-rich plasma replacement therapy, cogs and threads, cyrolipolysis, sclerotherapy, invasive chemical peels, a range of laser and light procedures and hair restoration surgery,” the update continued.

The update also referenced a range of “potentially harmful and unlicensed ‘products’ and devices” being administered as part of several cosmetic procedures. The JCCP is reviewing many of these devices, ‘machines’ and products and is advising the MHRA of the need to introduce rigorous controls regarding their importing, manufacture and supply.

“In recent years we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of harmful complications arising from a range of procedures many of which have been the result of sub-standard treatment administered by inappropriately qualified and poorly trained practitioners,” the update continued.

“We are also seeing gross misrepresentation of the benefits of treatment, not least on social media and other online platforms. At the heart of the problem is a serious lack of independent information and advice for the public and the simple fact that this is an area that requires regulation.

“We now need to make sure the new licensing schemes fully safeguard people who have invasive cosmetic treatments and that they introduce consistent standards – including hygiene and safety standards for premises – that individuals carrying out non-surgical cosmetic procedures will all have to meet.”

The JCCP  also published a 10-point plan to make the aesthetics sector as safe for patients as possible, including statutory regulation to ensure that only practitioners who meet the required standards for safe and effective practice can practise legally and national, mandatory education and training standards for all practitioners in these fields.

Original article written by Professional Beauty and featured here



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