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Regulation in the UK Aesthetic Industry

The UK aesthetic industry currently lacks comprehensive regulation in contrast to many other parts of the world (USA, Australia, Dubai for example) which is increasingly raising concerns about patient safety, practitioner qualifications, and ethical standards. Derma Medical’s mission is to exclusively train healthcare professionals in medical aesthetics to be safe and competent injectors.

One of the few regulated areas at present is the age limit on aesthetic procedures. Since October 2021 it has been a criminal offence in the UK to administer botulinum toxin or dermal filler injections for a cosmetic purpose to a person under 18 in England, even if they have the permission of someone over 18. It is also an offence to make arrangements or book an appointment to provide these treatments to anyone under the age of 18 in England.

The government brought forward consultation regarding amendment to the Health and Care Act 2022 which gives the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to bring into force a licensing scheme in England for non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The latest consultation period closed on 28th October 2023; under the proposed scheme, practitioners will need to be licensed to perform specific procedures and the premises from which they operate will also need to be licensed. The government consultation aimed to understand views on the types of treatments that might be included within the licensing scheme and whether any procedures should be carried out only by qualified and regulated healthcare professionals or under their clinical oversight. It also asked whether procedures permitted to be carried out only by qualified and regulated healthcare professionals should only be carried out by Care Quality Commission (CQC) registered providers.

The government will seek to publish the details of the responses received and then finalize policies. Throughout 2024 and 2025, they will work with expert groups on the elements that will underpin the licensing scheme, including education and training standards, insurance, infection control and hygiene qualifications, and a fee model. This will inform future public consultations on specific elements of the licensing scheme, which will include assessments of the economic and equality impacts of the proposed changes. Before any implementation, there will be a set lead time or a transitionary period before a licensing scheme is in full operation across England.

Addressing these issues in the UK’s aesthetic industry is paramount to safeguarding patient well-being and ensuring ethical practices. By enacting regulations, monitoring compliance, and prioritising public education, we can create a safer and more transparent aesthetic landscape. Derma Medical is committed to delivering the highest standards of training in aesthetics to deliver safe and competent medical professionals.

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