Cosmetic Injectables and Non-medically Qualified People

Sally Taber
By Sally Taber

Sally Taber is the Director of the Independent Healthcare Advisory Services. responds to the CTIA and their stance that: “…injectable treatments ‘botulinum toxin and dermal fillers are cosmetic and non-surgical and that the best-placed practitioners to undertake these treatments is the Aesthetic Therapist, not on title, but on account of their diligence, immeasurable experience, knowledge and skill”

Injectable cosmetic treatments, such as Botox ® and dermal fillers, are a growing industry in the UK and over one million took place last year alone. is the only form of self-regulation for the cosmetic injectable industry in the UK, and serves to protect patients from the serious risks posed by rogue practitioners. According to the standards and training principles for , which reflect the Medicines Act, only a doctor, dentist or registered nurse is appropriately qualified to administer injectable cosmetic treatments in the UK. This scheme was set up to safeguard patients from the rising number of rogue providers and to increase the safety and wellbeing of patients who are considering injectable cosmetic treatments. excludes beauty therapists from gaining a place on the register for several reasons.

First, a practitioner administering injectable cosmetic treatments must have the ability to conduct a full medical history check in order to ascertain whether the patient is a suitable candidate for treatment and be aware of any special precautions that may need to be considered. Beauty therapists do not have the appropriate expertise to deal with an emergency situation and this puts the patient at risk if a reaction occurs. It is essential that practitioners conducting injectable cosmetic treatments have advanced resuscitation skills, to deal with an emergency. Additionally, they must undergo training in facial anatomy and physiology to ensure that administered treatments achieve desired results. Whilst beauty therapists argue that they hold experience and knowledge of the skin, the safe and competent delivery of cosmetic injectables require knowledge of anatomy with a clinical background. joins the debate on Cosmetic Injectables and non-medically qualified people

Secondly, within the beauty industry no professional regulatory scheme for beauty therapists exists. Such lack of regulation coincides with no forum for a complaints mechanism which exists with the professional regulators the General Medical Council, General Dental Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.

Third, and most crucially, the manufacturers of injectable cosmetic products, including dermal fillers and botulinum toxins, openly state that they do not recommend beauty therapists use their products. Therefore, if the manufacturers themselves are not happy to sell to beauty therapists, consumers should be wary of seeking treatment from them and also question their source of supply.

Finally, examples exist of beauty therapists claiming fabricated qualifications in order to lull potential clients into a false sense of security. Such behaviour is wholly irresponsible, dangerous and ultimately does not put patient safety first. Restricting registration for to only doctors, dentists and registered nurses is therefore acting in the best interests of patients.

Who should Inject Botox

The recent blog by Danielle Lowe on injectable cosmetic treatments in Sweden, highlighted the serious need for regulation in the industry and in comparison showed the UK Government as setting a sterling example in only registering individuals who hold the specialist knowledge in anatomy and in the qualified position to manage potential risks, being fully accountable for their practice. 

The launch of Treatments You Can Trust came after six years of discussion between industry and health officials about how patient protection could be improved in the booming markets of injectable cosmetic treatments. Since then, the scheme has gained substantial press coverage and support from the media and importantly local Members of Parliament.

In 2011 an independent Governance Group was launched for Treatments You Can Trust, and is chaired by Baroness Ritchie of Brompton who has a successful record as a champion for disadvantaged women and in health-related advocacy.

Members of the 16-people-strong group represent industry, political and consumer voices and include Chris Horsey, DH, Dr Hilary Jones, Dawn Attwell representing registered nurses, Mr Nigel Mercer Consultant Plastic Surgeon, Dr Stephen Bassett, Cosmetic Doctor and Christine Braithwaite CHRE.

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