Beauty Therapists and Botox - The Skills for Safe Treatment?

Lorna Jackson
By Lorna Jackson

Lorna has been the Editor of The Consulting Room (www.consultingroom.com), the UK's largest aesthetic information website, since 2003.


An organisation set up to campaign for inclusion of beauty therapists in the lucrative facial aesthetics marketplace has been reprimanded for claiming government backing for its cosmetic injectable training courses aimed at beauty therapists.

Back in March 2011 we highlighted the issue of who should and shouldn’t be injecting Botulinum Toxins (Botox) and dermal fillers in our blog and the launch of the Cosmetic Treatments and Injectables Association (CTIA) run by Molly Hanson-Steel to represent Beauty Therapists involved in the facial aesthetics marketplace. CTIA openly set out to challenge the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS) and its Treatments You Can Trust Register which excludes practitioners who aren’t doctors, dentists or registered nurses from its government backed quality assurance accreditation scheme for cosmetic injectable providers.

TYCT, along with other industry organisations has long campaigned that Beauty Therapists simply don’t have the qualifications and medical skills needed to safely carry out these treatments on the public.

CTIA Advert

It was therefore viewed with some shock when the industry saw July’s edition of Professional Beauty magazine which featured an article entitled ‘CTIA Secures Government Funding for Aesthetics Training’. The piece related to the CTIA and claimed that the organisation had secured funding from the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for experienced therapists who were looking to boost their qualifications by undertaking training (via CTIA) in cosmetic injectables to help them to re-enter the world of work following redundancy or career breaks.

The article went on to explain how DWP funding was available for courses, through CTIA, in dermal fillers and botulinum toxin injections, as well as chemical peels and dermarollering (medical skin needling) with full course fee funding (available through Jobcentre Plus) for therapists or medical professionals who have the suitable qualifications and experience and are either unemployed or on a low income, to be awarded on a case by case basis. It claimed that CTIA is the approved training provider for anyone looking to secure DWP finding to train in aesthetics via the scheme and has the exclusive contract for the next 12 months.

Treatments You Can Trust raised concerns about these claims, along with the issues relating to beauty therapists training in and administering cosmetic injectables direct with the DWP and Lord Freud, the Minister for Welfare Reform. As well as coverage via this article, CTIA took every opportunity to shout about this fact both via their own website and in advertisements which they ran in publications such as Professional Beauty declaring “Now DWP Government Funded and Backed”.

Following an investigation, he responded to Baroness Morris, the Chair of the www.treatmentsyoucantrust.org.uk Governance Group on 31st July.

CTIA rapped by DWP for claiming government funding for beauty therapist injectable training

In his response, he noted;

“It appears that a single purchase of the course from the Cosmetic Treatments Injectables Association was made by a Jobcentre Plus Direct using a flexible fund that allows low-value discretionary funding for training that will lead directly to a job. In this case, the customer had a job offer that was subject to her undertaking this training.”

He went on to say;

“It is unlikely that Jobcentre Plus would have previously been aware of the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services (IHAS) guidelines on this training but following the query from the IHAS and your correspondence, we have taken steps to guarantee that Jobcentre Plus purchases of training are restricted in line with these guidelines. We have amended the Jobcentre Plus guidance with specific reference to this type of training, clarifying that only doctors, dentists and registered nurses should be permitted to apply for funding for this type of training.”

In relation to the specific claims on the CTIA website and advertising about being ‘backed’ by the government, Lord Freud said;

“Despite requests from the DWP, the organisation (CTIA) has failed to remove their strapline from fresh advertisements suggesting endorsement from DWP. The organisation had remained on our procurement register as a provider of another non-contentious training course. In view of their continued use of the strapline, however, we have concluded that they are in breach of their contractual terms and conditions with DWP and have now removed them from our procurement register."

Sally Taber, Head of IHAS declared this result as “great news”, and many within the industry would agree with her on this victory in the fight for patient safety within the aesthetic industry.

With Sir Bruce Keogh embarking on a full-scale review of the industry looking at everything from product and practitioner regulation it’s no doubt that the topic of beauty therapists and cosmetic injectables will come up in discussions. We hope some action will be taken to recommend to the government, once and for all, restrictions on the provisions of these products and services to the public.


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