York University has recently undertaken research in to the potential effects of Brits travelling abroad for cheaper medical procedures.

These include areas of treatment that aren’t currently covered by the NHS, or have reduced availability or, alternatively, are available but at a higher cost than in some other countries. The researchers took in to account dentistry, cosmetic surgery including treatments such as Botox, bariatic (weight loss) surgery and fertility services.

They reached the conclusion that so-called ‘medical tourism’ should be considered risky and potentially unsafe, and that as it currently stands patients were not aware of all the risks involved.

The main motivating factors for people electing for treatment abroad were positive recommendations from friends and family, and the often far cheaper price than the equivalent procedure in the UK. The potential repercussions of such trips did not seem to figure as heavily in decision-making.

The researchers also recommended that GPs need to play a larger role in educating patients as to the risks associated with travelling abroad for medical procedures.

63,000 UK patients travel abroad for medical treatment each year, with many unaware of where they stand should things go wrong. It’s likely that they will have no redress or legal protection within the country they have travelled to and will instead have to travel back to the UK and undergo potentially very expensive corrective treatment.

Cosmetic Courses offer expert aesthetic training to medical professionals from around the world. Contact the team on 01844 390110 or email [email protected] for information on our current course programme.

Winner of last year’s The Apprentice, Dr Leah Totton, this week launched the first of her cosmetic clinic ‘Dr. Leah’, joined by businesswoman and The Apprentice star Karren Brady. They will be offering various treatments, including cosmetic procedures such as Botox and liposuction.

Dr Totton came under fire with her business plan, which won her £250,000 of Lord Sugar’s investment, as she has not previously worked in aesthetic medicine, despite having trained in the techniques.

Her business idea came at the same time as the government-initiated Keogh review looked in to practices within the medical beauty sector, including who can administer such procedures and what medical and aesthetic training ought to be required. At the time previous BAAPS Chairman Nigel Mercer likened Dr Totton’s offering such procedures as putting “a hairdresser in charge of cosmetic surgery”.

Despite this controversy the planned clinics are going ahead, with the first on London’s Harley Street. Although Dr Totton, from Londonderry in Ireland, has decreed she will not administer Botox to the under-18s there are still question marks over how much publicity such clinics should receive, and whether services such as Botox and liposuction should be performed in a beauty therapy rather than in medical surroundings.

Runner up on the show, Luisa Zissman is currently appearing on Channel 5’s Celebrity Big Brother.

The IAPS (Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons) is calling for tighter regulation for the sector, specifically, demanding that doctors have to undergo specialist training before practising in plastic surgery. At the moment any qualified doctor can offer plastic surgery, and critics of this system argue that this does little to protect the patient.

At the time that British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons held their annual meeting in Dublin, outside London for the first time, the IAPS used the opportunity as a springboard to discuss changes in Irish law.

IAPS Secretary, Dr Peter Meagher commented that British law goes further than Irish law currently, and yet there are still issues surrounding training and regulation within British cosmetic surgery practice, as evidenced in the case of non-invasive treatments looked at in the Keogh Review. The view of the IAPS is that more often than not plastic surgeons in Ireland have not received specialist training and are “seldom or ever are on the specialist register” Dr Meagher said.

His concern is that patients who use unregulated clinics have no fall back if things go wrong. Often these are not even open round the clock, so patients have to rely on medical emergency care if they run in to problems following surgery.

Because of the lack of registration, Dr Meagher added that it was “hard to tell” how many patients may have suffered because of this, but that anecdotal evidence indicated that it was happening.

BAAPS President Rajiv Grover has spoken out over his concern that recommendations made to government months ago are not being implemented – a view that is echoed by much of the aesthetic medical industry.

In April of this year the final Keogh Review report was published and presented to government. In it, recommendations were made that the administration of non-invasive cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers should be carried out by qualified medical practitioners alone. At the time the review found the current deregulation of dermal fillers a “crisis waiting to happen.”

Now, six months after the recommendations were made, there has still been no action to tighten regulation within the industry which Grover deems to be “shameful”, adding:

“I like to hope that something will improve (however) there have been reviews before and none of them were taken up.”

The British Association of Dermatologists reaffirms his view and has responded in kind to the so-far lack of parliamentary response on the matter. In a statement spokesperson Deborah Mason said:

“When things go wrong with dermal fillers clients do not go back to their beauty therapist but seek help from dermatologists. This may give the false impression that these procedures are safe to those not medically skilled to deal with or understand the risks.

“We would like to see specific training in these procedures for medical and non-medical practitioners.”

The Department of Health has responded to the criticisms in a statement, stating:

“The government agrees with the principles of Sir Bruce Keogh’s recommendations and we are considering the report carefully and will put our detailed response to parliament shortly.”

Cosmetic Courses offers aesthetic training to qualified medical professionals from centres in Buckinghamshire and Manchester. Call us on 01844 390110 for details.


The latest Cosmetic Courses podcast is now available to listen to.

In the 13th episode, Adrian Richards talks to Ron Myers about Remote prescribing.

The issue of remote prescribing has been much in the news recently- with both sides of the argument being well represented.

Some believe that it is sufficient for a doctor or dentist to discuss individual cases with nurse practitioners and prescribe accordingly.  Others argue that the doctor should physically see and assess each patient.

Ron Myers from the consulting rooms discusses the following issues in the podcast:

  • The current legislation on Remote prescribing
  • How the governing bodies view Remote prescribing
  • How and when the issue is likely to resolve itself
  • His advice to Nurses using remote prescribing services.
Ravi Jain is well known in the UK aesthetics industry and the owner of the Riverbanks Clinic which won the prestigous clinic of the year award in 2009.

In this interview Ravi discusses:

  • His reasons for changing his career path from a GP to a full time Aesthetic practitioner
  • His advice on how to set up a successful clinic
  • Tips on how to survive the recession
  • His thoughts on how to constantly improve quality within your practice