The government is seeking views on whether ‘high-risk’ cosmetic procedures should only be carried out by nurses and other qualified, regulated healthcare professionals.
The move comes as part of a new consultation on how to make non-surgical cosmetic procedures, such as Botox and fillers, safer for the public in England, after thousands of complaints of ‘botched’ procedures.
Ministers are asking the public, professionals and businesses for their views on introducing restrictions on who can perform certain high-risk procedures – such as injecting fillers into intimate parts of the body – and age limits for those undergoing cosmetic procedures.
The consultation also asks whether high-risk procedures should only be carried out within providers registered with the Care Quality Commission.
Views gathered will be used to shape a new licensing scheme for practitioners and cosmetic businesses which operate in England – mooted by the government last year.
The action on non-surgical cosmetic procedures comes as Save Face – a government approved register of accredited practitioners for aesthetic treatments – received almost 3,000 complaints in 2022, with more than two-thirds relating to dermal fillers and almost a quarter relating to Botox.
Minister for the Women’s Health Strategy Maria Caulfield said: ‘Whether it’s Botox, dermal fillers or even a chemical peel, we have heard too many stories of people who’ve had bad experiences from getting a cosmetic procedure from someone who is inexperienced or underqualified.
‘There’s no doubt that the popularity of cosmetic procedures is increasing, so it’s our role to ensure consistent standards for consumers and a level playing field for businesses and practitioners.’
She added: ‘We want to make sure we get this right for everyone, which is why we want to hear your opinions and experiences through our new consultation.’
Chair of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, Sharon Bennett, said the organisation ‘supports any move towards regulation which puts patient safety at the heart of its agenda’.
And she said she would be working with key stakeholders to ‘ensure that any member of the public undergoing a medical aesthetic treatment is given the “reasonable standard of care” as expected in any medical treatment’.
Meanwhile, Professor David Sines, chair of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, said: ‘I warmly welcome the government’s decision to consult on this new, proposed licensing scheme.
‘It will help to ensure that people who undergo non-surgical cosmetic procedures receive treatment from practitioners who are properly trained and qualified, have the necessary insurance cover and operate from premises that are safe and hygienic.’
This is the government’s first-ever consultation on aesthetics treatments, and it will close in eight weeks on Saturday 28 October.
It comes after the passing of the Health and Care Act in April 2022, which gave the health and social care secretary the power to introduce a licensing regime. Under the proposed scheme, practitioners would need to be licensed to perform specific procedures, and the premises from which they operate will also need to be licensed.