Doctors must have a license to carry out non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers under new Government plans to protect the public from rogue medics.
The Department of Health said an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, due to be tabled today, would give the Health Secretary the power to introduce a licensing regime for such procedures.
Ministers said although the majority of the cosmetic industry shows good practice when it comes to patient safety, the move will ensure consistent standards and protect individuals from those without licences.
Experts have repeatedly described the beauty filler industry as the “wild wild West” as it remains “worryingly unregulated”.
Save Face, the organisation behind the national register of accredited practitioners who offer non-surgical cosmetic treatments said it receives an average of 20 and 30 reports of rogue practitioners in the UK each week.
The cost of Botox injections can vary from about £100 to £350 for each treatment, depending on the clinic and the area being treated. The NHS currently advises anyone wanting the procedure to make sure the person doing it is “suitably qualified and experienced”.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said: “While most of those in the aesthetics industry follow good practice when it comes to patient safety, far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures.
“I am committed to protecting patient safety by making it an offence for someone to perform these cosmetic procedures without a licence.”
The “scope and details” of the regulations will be “determined via extensive engagement including a public consultation”, the department said.
The Government’s move is the latest to safeguard those who access non-surgical cosmetic treatments and follows on from new legislation making it illegal to administer such treatments to under 18s, and banning adverts on all forms of media including social media, influencer advertising and traditional advertising for cosmetic procedures which target under 18s.
Minister for Patient Safety Maria Caulfield said the spread of images online via social media has led to a rise in demand for Botox and fillers and there had been a subsequent increase in people suffering the consequences of badly-performed procedures.
She said: “While these can be administered safely, we are seeing an unacceptable rise in people being left physically and mentally scarred from poorly performed procedures.
“Today’s amendment is the next step on the road to effective regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures in England.”
The amendment comes in addition to ongoing work with the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) on the potential to bring certain devices, such as dermal fillers without a medical purpose, in scope of medical device regulations.
The Government is currently analysing responses form a public consultation which ran to 25 November 2021 and will publish a formal response in due course.