Government report heralds regulatory change in the non-surgical aesthetic sector21/09/21
Lack of regulation of non-surgical aesthetic treatments such as botox and fillers has long been the subject of considerable debate. Now that the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG) has published its report into advanced aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments, will we see changes in the sector? We comment on the current state of regulation and share our recommendations on patient safety and the wider impact of any changes.
At the moment regulation takes place solely via the Care and Quality Commission’s (CQC) inspection and enforcement regime. The recent case of The Aesthetic Beauty Centre LLP shows that the CQC will take robust action to protect patients. The Centre, which offered both surgical and cosmetic procedures, was deregistered in July 2021 after it continued to carry out surgical procedures in breach of conditions. Previous inspections had revealed issues with infection control, record keeping and risk assessment.
From our sector experience the most common themes are:
- lack of informed consent
- lack of understanding of likely results arising from insufficient discussions before treatment
- lack of contemporaneous notes
- failure to carry out patch tests.
The APPG noted a “complete lack of a legal framework of standards”, which has a severe impact on both customer safety and the long term future of the sector. There are 17 recommendations which include:
- National minimum standards for practitioner training
- Mandatory regulated qualification (in line with national standards)
- National licensing framework
- Fillers to be prescription only
- Psychological pre-screening of customers to be developed and mandated
- Ban on under 18s receiving botox and fillers to be extended to other invasive aesthetic treatments
- Advertising restrictions
- Social media platforms to do more to curb misleading ads and posts.
The proposals bring the sector into line with mainstream medicine. Patient safety will be front and centre from the outset. Whether the proposals are implemented or not, providers should ensure that they have robust governance and assurance processes in place. Staff training on:
- risk assessment,
- obtaining and documenting informed consent and pre-treatment discussions,
- infection control and
- incident management
is key in addition to attendance and competency being recorded.
To enable fully informed consent, it is important to ensure there is a gap between giving the information and scheduling the treatment, so that the patient can reflect on what is proposed. Insurers are likely to want to review their proposal forms and policy wordings, with a focus on any recommendations which are implemented, and ensure that brokers are aware of any changes.
How Capsticks can help
Capsticks, the firm of choice in healthcare, has a team of experts on hand to advise and support medical malpractice insurers and their healthcare and aesthetic providers on the legal issues they face, from policy coverage, claims and inquests to CQC registration, inspections and regulatory proceedings. The insight was compiled by Cheryl Blundell, Consultant. For further information on the report or assistance with any of the issues discussed in this insight, please contact Anna Walsh, Majid Hassan or Ian Cooper to find out more how Capsticks can help.