Surgeons across the UK are lining up to criticise a new government initiative, backed by medical regulators and the cosmetic industry, which seeks to clampdown on cosmetic surgeries such as Botox. The government is seeking to ensure that consumers have access to credible facilities to receive cosmetic procedures by listing clinics with qualified staff and appropriate facilities. Critics however have said that the measure does not do enough to stamp out “rogue” providers of cosmetic procedures.
Currently the Care Quality Commission, which oversees medical treatment in the UK, has no control over procedures like Botox injections. Roughly 5,000 facilities across the UK provide these cosmetic procedures to over 200,000 patients a year. As a result, the procedures can be provided in places like beauty salons where the staff have no formal training in medicine, dentistry, or nursing. If the procedures are wrongly-applied they can cause health problems and good hygiene is needed to reduce the risk of infection.
The new initiative seeks to provide qualified clinics and professionals with a “Quality Assurance Mark” that will be backed up by a timetable of regular inspections. The initiative would establish a list of clinics that have qualified staff and clean facilities for consumers to choose from to ensure they receive proper treatment.
Cosmetic injections are designed to reduce the appearance of wrinkles and the industry has experienced a 25% growth in the last year alone, making now the perfect time in the minds of many to tighten the regulation of the industry. Due to the growth of the industry, the government has recognised the need to regulate the procedures to safeguard patients. The programme has received an initial investment of 200,000 from the government to help launch the initiative.
Critics have slammed the new initiative though calling the plan an easy out for the government to wash its hands of industry regulation. A representative from Safer Cosmetic Surgery criticised the scheme stating that the only clinics likely to sign up for the programme are those that already meet the high safety requirements.
Supporters fired back though, believing that other measures contained within the initiative will serve to further prevent irresponsible providers from conducting cosmetic procedures. Supporters have said the “Quality Assurance Mark” will serve as an additional weapon for consumers against poor facilities and unqualified providers. The measure also seeks to make it harder for unqualified providers to get insurance coverage in hopes it will prevent places like nail bars and beauty salons from providing cosmetic injections.