It is widely reported in the press that the aesthetic sector is ‘unregulated’, that it’s like the ‘wild west’ and that there are many ‘cosmetic cowboys’ out there, but what do these terms mean? Mr. Ahmed Ali-Khan our lead surgeon and has always been outspoken about safety in the aesthetic sector and explains,
“The healthcare sector is regulated meaning there are standards and rules healthcare providers, like LASE Cosmetic, must adhere to and there are organisations (regulators) that check on providers and enforce those rules. In the healthcare sector, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) is the regulator and individual doctors and nurses are also monitored by their professional regulators such as the General Medical Council (GMC) and Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) respectively.
But in non-surgical aesthetics there are no organisations responsible for regulation, this means almost anyone can attend a ‘one day course’ and set up their own clinic claiming to be ‘fully trained’. No matter how ethical such an individual might be they are unlikely to have the healthcare experience that comes with years of training as a nurse, doctor, or dentist.
Part of the problem is that the non-surgical aesthetic sector is often associated with the beauty industry which I believe blurs the lines between beauty providers and medical providers. The lack of standards and rules have been compared to the lawlessness associated with the American ‘wild west’ and some providers who appear to have poor standards are known as ‘cosmetic cowboys’.”
LASE Cosmetic in Jesmond, Newcastle is a medical aesthetic clinic. We offer non-surgical treatments (as well as surgical ones) and we are registered with the CQC. This means our clinic must abide by certain standards and rules or the CQC has the power to shut us down (as it has done to some cosmetic clinics).
These rules are intended to keep patients safe and maintain the highest standards. No matter whether we are performing a breast augmentation or injecting lip filler we must maintain those standards.
Mr. Ali-Khan continues, “The CQC only has power over medical clinics so beauty clinics are outside its remit which means there is an enormous hole in the safety net for patients. But there is change coming. The new ‘Health and Care Bill’ that is going through Parliament right now will give the Health Secretary the power to regulate all providers of aesthetic treatments including non-medical providers. This is very good news as hopefully there will be a minimum standard that everyone must meet.”
Mr. Ali-Khan is a board member of the Cosmetic Practice Standards Committee (CPSA) which is a committee of aesthetic experts. They produce guidance for all providers of non-surgical aesthetic treatments and include botulinum toxin anti-wrinkle treatments (commonly known as Botox), skin and lip filler injections, as well as laser skin treatments and hair restoration, and skin peels.
The guidance produced by the CPSA is not statutory (meaning it is not the law) but Mr. Ali-Khan hopes it will serve to guide the rules set up by the Health Secretary. He says, “The CPSA is meeting in London this week to discuss our latest recommendations and we hope Parliament will use them as the standard that all providers must follow. Patient safety must always come first.”
If you would like more information on our non-surgical aesthetic treatments please contact us, we will be happy to give you an honest opinion and understanding of what the treatment entails and if it is the right treatment for you.