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This week has seen the gauntlet well and truly laid down between the aesthetic (beauty) therapists and the medical fraternity (doctors, dentists and nurses) when it comes to who should and shouldn’t be allowed to inject the general public with cosmetic injectable products including dermal fillers and botulinum toxins.
The debate has now been thrown wide open.
The Cosmetic Treatments and Injectables Association (CTIA), formed this month by its Chairman Molly Hanson-Steel, has 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.
There are also heated debates going on amongst nurses as to whether non-nurse prescribers should be involved in injectable cosmetics, with the NMC certainly not being supportive of non-independent nurse prescribers using prescription cosmetic injectables.
However, in recent years the debate has, in my opinion, entered an entirely different level with some beauty therapists now trying to validate their claims to the use of prescription medicine (botulinum toxin) and dermal fillers for cosmetic rejuvenation.
Where training courses have been offered to beauty therapists and other non-medically qualified people, and although NOT ONE of the major suppliers and manufacturers of these products support the use of their products by non-medically qualified practitioners, it appears that they are either powerless in stopping the supply of their brands to these people (available through various routes), or they just don’t care where their product ends up, as long as someone pays for it!; (which I hope isn’t true!)
So, you may wonder, if NOT ONE of the manufacturers, suppliers or distributors in the UK PUBLICLY SUPPORT the use of their products by ANY non-medically qualified person, why are beauty therapists so vociferous in persisting with their case for use of these products?
Having been involved in the industry since the launch of Botox® in 1994, I've been fortunate enough to have watched the cosmetic injectable market evolve and develop and to listen to all the arguments from practitioners with different backgrounds who want to generate an income from this evolving market segment.
Plastic surgeons and dermatologists initially were concerned, (and some still are), with doctors from other specialities being involved in cosmetic injectables, and some doctors are not supportive of dentists or nurse prescribers using these treatments.
Speaking about the formation of CTIA, Molly Hanson-Steel said; “More and more bad press about injectable administrators is hitting the headlines because of malpractice and/or incompetent procedures. The perception is that the Cosmetic Industry Practitioners are the perpetrators of this bad practice when in reality this is not the truth. The CTIA intend to provide a clear structure to raise safe practice and standards in the cosmetic injectables industry. We will promote quality assurance through inspection, training and external audit. Our procedures will result in promoting safer practices for the client and awareness of our sector to the public. We do not agree with a registration system without inspection”.
Hence, an inspectorate body has also been set up known as the Cosmetic Dermal Botulinum & Fillers Inspectorate (cdBAFI). They state on their website that; “we do not feel that if you are a dentist, doctor or nurse that automatically enables you to perform this type of non-surgical cosmetic treatment at the exclusion of the cosmetic industry professionals practising in this area. We want ALL practitioners inspected to enable the consumer a choice.”
Stuart Naisbett, Director of Inspection at cdBAFI also said recently; “We created the Inspectorate on behalf of the consumer...not the medical profession or the Cosmetic Industry. We are an independent Inspectorate that wants to assure the consumer that the injectables practitioner that they choose to perform their treatment has been inspected to the same industry standard.”
cdBAFI is working with the CTIA to introduce new training standards for cosmetic injectables and also claims that they would be happy to also work with IHAS to introduce a generic standard for all. They intend to evaluate both the people and the organisations involved in the provision of cosmetic injectables.
To further highlight their cause, CTIA along with the British Association of Beauty Therapy & Cosmetology (BABTAC) and cdBAFI, formed a delegation to visit the Department of Health and meet with the current Health Minister, Simon Burns regarding the regulation of cosmetic injectable treatments.
In particular, they wanted to discuss the implied exclusion of beauty therapists and other cosmetic industry participants from practising within this marketplace due to their exclusion from the IHAS shared regulation scheme, which was granted funds from the previous government for the development and promotion of the public of a register of accredited cosmetic injectable providers.
The delegation is said to have highlighted its concerns to the Minister about what they believe is an unlevel playing field in the area of non-surgical injectable beauty treatments and outlined the fact that the public should be made aware that they are training up dentists, nurses and doctors on the NHS to work in the private health care sector offering non-surgical beauty treatments.
A cynical argument indeed.
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