People and businesses are being invited to share their views on how to make non-surgical cosmetic procedures – including Botox, laser hair removal and dermal fillers – safer as thousands complain of ‘botched’ procedures.
The government’s first-ever consultation on treatments – also known as aesthetic procedures – will be used to shape a new licensing scheme for practitioners and cosmetic businesses which operate in England. This could include age limits and restrictions for high-risk procedures, including those involving injecting fillers into intimate parts of the body – including the breasts and buttocks.
Any new licensing scheme would protect patients from potential harm associated with poorly performed procedures. This will provide reassurance to people that wherever they go to get their treatments, they will receive the same high standards of practice.
The beauty industry is hugely important for the UK economy and is largely made up of female-owned small and medium sized businesses, with the non-surgical cosmetic industry previously being valued at an estimated £3.6 billion in the UK.
New regulations will support businesses by introducing high standards across the sector, raising the reputation and professionalism of the industry.
Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy, Maria Caulfield said:
"Whether it’s Botox, dermal fillers or even a chemical peel, we have heard too many stories of people who’ve had bad experiences from getting a cosmetic procedure from someone who is inexperienced or under qualified.
There’s no doubt that the popularity of cosmetic procedures is increasing, so it’s our role to ensure consistent standards for consumers and a level playing field for businesses and practitioners.
We want to make sure we get this right for everyone, which is why we want to hear your opinions and experiences through our new consultation.
An estimated 900,000 Botox injections are carried out in the UK each year. Save Face - a government approved register of accredited practitioners - received almost 3,000 complaints in 2022, with over two-thirds of those complaints relating to dermal fillers and almost a quarter relating to Botox".
Ashton Collins, director, Save Face said:
"Whilst we appreciate that we are still at very early stages of any potential licensing scheme being implemented in England, we are delighted to have been invited by the government to contribute our thoughts and ideas ahead of the release of this public consultation.
Being involved in the process has enabled Save Face to actively contribute to roundtable discussions with ministers, policy makers and key stakeholders.
As the largest and longest established Professional Standards Authority accredited register, we are able to provide a unique level of insight based on ten years of gathering data from practitioner and clinic audits as well as patient reported complaints, adverse reactions, and complications.
This will enable us to help develop a fit for purpose scheme that has public safety as its primary focus. We look forward to continuing to work closely with the government and key stakeholders during the next stages of the process".
Professor David Sines CBE, Chair of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, said:
"I warmly welcome the government’s decision to consult on this new, proposed licensing scheme. It will help to ensure that people who undergo non-surgical cosmetic procedures receive treatment from practitioners who are properly trained and qualified, have the necessary insurance cover and operate from premises that are safe and hygienic.
I would urge everybody to seize the opportunity provided by this consultation and support the move towards sensible and proportionate regulation in this important sector".
Victoria Brownlie, Chief Policy Officer at the British Beauty Council:
Since its inception, the British Beauty Council has been working to raise the reputation of the beauty industry and we see greater checks and balances around aesthetic procedures as a key part of this. Having worked with the government to achieve the ban on injectables for under 18s in 2021, we are delighted that they have continued this momentum with the commitment to introduce a licensing scheme covering a raft of higher-risk aesthetic treatments, many of which are largely unregulated.
Those seeking treatments deserve to do so with confidence that their practitioner is properly qualified in the service they’re offering, to the appropriate level of government approved educational standards. The Council has worked closely with the Department of Health and Social Care to get to this point, so we look forward to seeing the outcome of the consultation and helping to shape the regulatory framework as it progresses.
The consultation will run for 8 weeks and will close on Saturday 28 October.
It follows the passing of the Health and Care Act in April 2022, which gave the Health and Social Care Secretary the power to introduce a licensing regime.
Under the proposed scheme, which will be operated by local authorities in England, practitioners will need to be licensed to perform specific procedures, and the premises from which they operate will also need to be licensed.
The government has already made it illegal for under-18s to access Botox and filler treatments for cosmetic purposes and banned TV and social media adverts targeting under-18s with cosmetic procedures.
Anyone considering a cosmetic procedure should reflect fully on the possible impact of the procedure on both their physical and mental health and, if they decide to go ahead, take the time to find a reputable, insured and qualified practitioner.
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To take part in the consultation please click here
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