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MPs call on government to plug regulatory gap in Botox and fillers industry

Gaelle Walker
21 July 2021

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG) has published a list of 17 recommendations for government - in a bid to plug the “concerning” regulatory gap that it says currently exits in the non-surgical cosmetic treatment market.

The APPG's report into advanced aesthetic non-surgical cosmetic treatments says that consumers were being put “at risk” by the “complete lack of a legal framework” of standards around treatments such as Botox and fillers.

The publication of the report follows a year-long investigation into practitioner standards and qualifications by the APPG - which discovered a number of cases of poor practice from aesthetic practitioners in both the beauty and medic industries.

The training and competence gap was leaving consumers at risk and also undermining the industry’s ability to develop, the report said.

The APPG inquiry also examined the case for a registration of practitioners or licensing, ethics and mental health considerations, and issues around advertising and social media.

The APPG said: “There is much good practice from aesthetic practitioners in the beauty and medic industries, but also cases of poor practice from both.

"It was not the APPG’s intention to state who should or shouldn’t be allowed to become a practitioner, but ensure all practitioners gain the appropriate training and prove their competence to deliver advanced aesthetic treatments.

Key recommendations for Government include:

  • Setting national minimum standards for practitioner training
  • Mandate practitioners hold a regulated qualification in line with national standards
  • Legislate to introduce a national licensing framework
  • Make fillers prescription only
  • Develop and mandate psychological pre-screening of customers;
  • Extend the ban on under 18s receiving Botox and fillers to other invasive aesthetic treatments
  • Place advertising restrictions on dermal fillers and other invasive aesthetic treatments
  • Require social media platforms to do more to curb misleading ads and posts promoting these treatments.

APPG Co-chairs Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP said: “For too long there have been next to no limits on who can carry out aesthetic treatments, what qualifications they must have, or where they can administer them.

“We launched this inquiry as we were deeply concerned that as the number of advanced treatments on the market continues to grow, the regulation remains fragmented, obscure and out of date which puts the public at risk.

“We were also particularly concerned about the advertising and social media promotion of these treatments and how to make sure vulnerable people, such as children and those at risk from mental ill-health, are protected.

“We strongly urge the Government to implement the recommendations in our report and to take action to improve to improve the situation for the benefit of the industry and public safety. Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.”

Commenting on the report, Minister for Patient Safety, Nadine Dorries, added: “Far too many people have been left to live with the emotional and physical scars caused by their experience of cosmetic surgery, needing prolonged medical treatment after botched cosmetic procedures, particularly fillers.

“Patients must always come first and I am committed to protecting their safety making sure people have the right information they need to make informed decisions about cosmetic surgery and ensuring the highest quality training is accessible to all practitioners.

“This report is an important contribution to our shared understanding of the consequences of this kind of treatment and I look forward to reviewing its recommendations on how we continue to improve people’s safety.

“Anyone considering Botox, or fillers, should pause and take the time they need to consider the potential impact of surgery on both their physical and mental health, and take steps to ensure they are using a reputable, safe and qualified practitioner.”

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