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Why we’re working towards regulation of the cosmetic industry

In 2013 Sir Bruce Keogh produced a report on non-surgical cosmetic procedures. He concluded that action as the industry was largely unregulated. He said: ’A person having a non-surgical cosmetic intervention has no more protection and redress than someone buying a ballpoint pen or a toothbrush. Dermal fillers are a particular cause for concern as anyone can set themselves up as a practitioner, with no requirement for knowledge, training or previous experience. Nor are there sufficient checks in place with regard to product quality – most dermal fillers have no more controls than a bottle of floor cleaner.’

Sadly the Government has declined to legislate to prevent non-clinical practitioners injecting nor made dermal fillers prescription items. It did however ask Health Education England to produce a set of guidelines to encompass all levels of non surgical cosmetic practice. The report was published at the end of 2015.

On this basis the Department of Health has supported a Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) to take forward the report, which I am part of. The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) and British Association of Aesthetic Nurses (BACN) have worked together to develop this council. Recently the British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) , British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) have agreed to work on the project with a particular focus on setting clinical standards.

The structure of the JCCP is inclusive. Its aims include providing credible regulation and guidance for the public/patients in an unregulated sector, establishing a recognised method to accredit and assess practioners and reducing risk for everyone working in the sector. It also aims to agree a set of clinical standards that can be used for registration and the development of a set of recognised training qualifications and programmes.

There will be a register of practitioners and two separate advisory bodies, the clinical standards board and a devices and equipment committee, both of which will work in tandem with the JCCP.

It is early days but it looks hopeful that at last this industry will have proper regulation.

Dr Paul Charlson is a GP in Brough, East Yorkshire and strategic medical director of One Medical Group