BOTCHED BOTOX: Calls for regulation of the beauty treatment industry
A “complete absence” of regulation of beauty treatments such as Botox and fillers is putting the public at risk – and “maintaining the status quo is not an option”, MPs have said.
There is a complete lack of a legal framework of standards around non-surgical aesthetic treatments, which has left consumers at risk and undermined the industry’s ability to develop, the All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (the APPG) found.
The MPs have called on the Government to address the absence of any regulation after the year-long inquiry following an explosion in the popularity and availability of the sector.
The APPG investigated practitioner standards and qualifications, the case for a registration of practitioners or licensing, ethics and mental health considerations, and the “serious issues” around advertising and social media.
Among its recommendations are the setting of national minimum standards for practitioner training and regulated qualifications in line with national standards.
It has also called for fillers to be made prescription-only, psychological pre-screening of customers and the extension of the ban on under-18s receiving Botox and fillers to other invasive aesthetic treatments.
The committee said social media platforms need to do more to curb misleading ads and posts promoting the treatments.
Co-chairs of the APPG, Carolyn Harris and Judith Cummins, said: “For too long there have been next to no limits on who can carry out aesthetic treatments, what qualifications they must have, or where they can administer them.
“We launched this inquiry as we were deeply concerned that as the number of advanced treatments on the market continues to grow, the regulation remains fragmented, obscure and out-of-date, which puts the public at risk.
“We were also particularly concerned about the advertising and social media promotion of these treatments and how to make sure vulnerable people, such as children and those at risk from mental ill-health, are protected.
“We strongly urge the Government to implement the recommendations in our report and to take action to improve the situation for the benefit of the industry and public safety. Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.”
Minister for Patient Safety Nadine Dorries said: “Far too many people have been left to live with the emotional and physical scars caused by their experience of cosmetic surgery, needing prolonged medical treatment after botched cosmetic procedures, particularly fillers.
“Patients must always come first and I am committed to protecting their safety making sure people have the right information they need to make informed decisions about cosmetic surgery and ensuring the highest quality training is accessible to all practitioners.
“This report is an important contribution to our shared understanding of the consequences of this kind of treatment and I look forward to reviewing its recommendations on how we continue to improve people’s safety.
“Anyone considering Botox, or fillers, should pause and take the time they need to consider the potential impact of surgery on both their physical and mental health, and take steps to ensure they are using a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner.”
Chartered Institute of Environmental Health chief executive Phil James said: “This is a great step forward in realising the complexities of the growing cosmetic industry and creating public protections.
“Our flagship reports and those of the other organisations we work with have shown that action must be taken. It is vital that the most invasive procedures are undertaken by qualified, licensed and experienced healthcare professionals.
“Unfortunately, the legislation that local authorities rely on to regulate this sector is now very out of date and something new and effective is needed to support regulators in protecting members of the public.”
Royal Society for Public Health chief executive Christina Marriott said: “Nearly one in five members of the public experienced a negative effect following a non-surgical treatment.
“Infection control qualifications, such as the RSPH Level 2 Award in Infection Prevention and Control, must be an essential component of cosmetic licensing. Last year, Wales introduced infection prevention qualification as part of a mandatory licensing scheme. It is time that England follows suit.”
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