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Consumers Are Confused About Who Can Legally Offer Botox® in the UK

Following a recent online poll, The Consulting Room™ (www.consultingroom.com) finds that many consumers are already confused about who can and cannot legally provide Botox® in the UK and asks, will new industry self-regulation of the cosmetic injectables marketplace educate, or simply confuse the public even more?

Rugby, UK - 07 June, 2007 – Following the recommendations from two reports published in January 2005, from the Healthcare Commission and the Cosmetic Inter-Specialty Committee (Expert Group), on the provision of cosmetic surgery in the UK, the Government, through The Department of Health (DOH), has spent 1½ years determining the best form of regulation of the cosmetic injectable treatment arena, which would include dermal filler and botulinum toxin products. The DOH considered whether statutory regulation, (through the existing Healthcare Commission), would provide the best approach for both treatment providers and their patients.

After much deliberation, they announced their verdict on April 25th 2007 and proposed that the industry should embark on a self-regulation exercise for the provision of dermal fillers and botulinum toxins to consumers. The Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS), which count many of the major cosmetic surgery providers as members,will now begin to draw up proposals for a self-regulatory scheme; the most likely proposal being a kite-mark approach.The DOH is expected to examine levels of quality and safety once the self-regulatory scheme had been established and in place for a reasonable period. A review is rumoured to be scheduled for 2010.

Lord Hunt (Minister of State (Quality) at the Department of Health and Government Spokesperson for Health) noted; "While I have every confidence that self regulation is the best way forward for non-surgical cosmetic treatments at this moment in time, we do not completely rule out the introduction of statutory regulation should it become necessary in the future."

In light of this announcement, and our concerns that such a step, whereby Cosmetic Surgery and Laser/IPL providers are regulated by the Healthcare Commission, whilst Botox® and Dermal Filler providers are self-regulated via an industry kite-mark system, could cause widespread confusion amongst the public; The Consulting Room™ decided to canvas current understanding, via an online poll, on just who can and cannot legally prescribe and administer the prescription-only-medicine Botox® in the United Kingdom.

Of a random sample of individuals polled during May and June 2007, we noted that 78% correctly identified Cosmetic Surgeons as being legally able to prescribe and administer Botox® in the UK, along with 69% for Doctors, 40% for Dentists and 45% for Nurses; (although we note that this should indeed be a Nurse with a Nurse Independent Prescriber qualification or one under the direction of a Doctor).

Although, consumers should indeed be congratulated for their apparent knowledge of those medical specialties who can provide this popular treatment, more worrying is the number who believe that various non-medics can prescribe and administer botulinum toxins; which could lead some to end up in the hands of rogue operators.

Alarmingly, 19% believed that it was legal for Beauty Therapists to prescribe and administer Botox®, a very worrying misconception given the growing trend within the industry for training courses in cosmetic injectables aimed at Beauty Therapists, as first highlighted by The Consulting Room™ in April this year. 11% of those polled also thought that this was perfectly legal for Opticians, and perhaps most shocking of all was the 3% and 1% respectively who believed that Nail Technicians and Hairdressers could also legally treat them with Botox®.

If the cosmetic enhancement industry is to succeed in implementing the self-regulation process for this growing non-surgical arena, then the need to address consumer awareness and education about the differing regulations governing treatments and procedures in the UK could not be more pressing.

At The Consulting Room™ (www.consultingroom.com), we are committed to providing accurate, factual and up-to-date information on the world of cosmetic enhancement, and assistance with finding a reputable practitioner.

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About The Consulting Room™

The Consulting Room™, (www.consultingroom.com), launched in 2003, is the UK's largest aesthetic website providing clear and unbiased information to the public on a wide range of surgical and non-surgical cosmetic treatments, combined with a directory of UK & Ireland based clinics. The Consulting Room™ is the only major UK online clinic search directory who check that all sponsored listed clinics in their database are registered with the Healthcare Commission (where required), and that medical practitioners are also registered with their respective medical bodies.
 
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