Holyrood to regulate private Botox clinics

At present such clinics are unregulated across the UK. Picture: Jon Savage
At present such clinics are unregulated across the UK. Picture: Jon Savage
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PRIVATE clinics carrying out procedures such as Botox injections and teeth whitening are to be regulated from next year, the Scottish Government has announced.

Legislation is to be brought in at Holyrood to allow Healthcare Improvement Scotland to start regulating private clinics where non-surgical cosmetic procedures are carried out from April.

Many people are not aware that there is no regulation of independent clinics

Maureen Watt MSP

There is currently no regulation for such centres - which also offer procedures such as laser eye surgery and dermal fillers - anywhere in the UK.

Around one in five Scots have either had a private cosmetic procedure or have thought about having one, according to new research.

A report for the Scottish Government found 4 per cent of the adult population have had a procedure carried out, most commonly cosmetic dentistry work, while a further 16 per cent have considered having something done.

Public Health Minister Maureen Watt said: “Cosmetic procedures, both surgical and non-surgical, have increased massively in popularity over the last few years.

“Many people are not aware that there is no regulation of independent clinics who provide non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

“There are many reputable practitioners in Scotland, but unfortunately there are others who do not live up to those high standards.

“That can lead to complications after procedures, sometimes leaving the customer with lasting injuries. By introducing a sound system of regulation and inspection we hope to reduce those instances.”

Ministers had set up an expert group early last year to consider the best way to regulate the growing industry.

The Scottish Cosmetic Interventions Expert Group has now recommended the new regulation regime, starting with independent clinics next year.

It also proposes that professionals working in the industry keep up to date with the latest training, that all providers must have sufficient insurance and a transparent complaint systems should be in place.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) already regulates private hospitals where cosmetic surgery takes place.

HIS deputy chief executive Robbie Pearson said: “Through the registration and inspection of all independent clinics, including those that provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments, we will ensure that the industry performs to a high standard that continually improves. This will ensure that patients get the best possible care every time.”

The proposal to bring in regulation for those clinics conducting non-surgical procedures was welcomed by medical bodies.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: “Patients who undergo cosmetic procedures need more protection. We welcome the proposals of the Scottish Government and believe they will promote improvements in patient safety and experience.

“We have recently launched a public consultation on the standards we will expect from every doctor in the UK offering cosmetic treatment. This new guidance will also help patients understand what, they in turn, should expect from their doctor.”

General Dental Council chief executive Evlynne Gilvarry, said the body is “very keen to have regulation of entirely private dental practices”.

Sharon Bennett, chair of the British Association of Cosmetic Nurses, said: “The BACN fully supports the actions of the Scottish Government and the expert group with regard to developing frameworks and standards in relation to the delivery of non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

“We believe that patient safety should be at the centre of any proposals agreed and that patients are assured at all times of the best medical care that is available from medical professionals who are accountable to their own governing councils.”

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