After 7 years of campaigning to introduce a licencing scheme for cosmetic practitioners, the Government has agreed to amend the Health and Care Bill to include its introduction.
Firstly, this is a victory for my constituent Dawn Knight. Dawn raised issues around the cosmetic surgery industry with my office back in 2015, having been a victim of a particular hospital group. She has been a tireless campaigner in ensuring not only that victims get a voice, but that we press for more regulation and for higher levels of patient safety in the cosmetics sector.
I have stated many times that the cosmetics sector is the ‘wild west’ of healthcare, with minimal levels of patient safety. This sector is completely unregulated and lacks any national standards. There is no consumer protection, and no minimum levels of training or qualification for those administering these treatments.
The most concerning consequence of the current lack of basic standards is the growing prevalence of short ‘self-accredited’ training courses that claim to offer ‘qualifications’ to practitioners to offer non-surgical aesthetic treatments.
Many practitioners are clearly unqualified to conduct these procedures or provide aftercare should the patient suffer an adverse reaction to the procedure. I have followed horrific cases where members of the public have undertaken single-day training courses for certain procedures and returned to conduct procedures on members of their own family in the following days.
The amendment that the Government has now accepted should change this. It gives the Government the opportunity to recognise the competency required to safely conduct these procedures and ensure practitioners are capable of undertaking them through a robust, national accreditation process.
The Government must now work with industry to develop guidance to underpin a national licensing scheme, as has been done previously with special procedures such as tattooing and piercing.
I once again wish to place on record my thanks to Dawn for the tenacity and perseverance she has shown throughout this period, and thank colleagues across the House and the Lords who contributed to the passing of this important measure.
I now look forward to the Government bringing forward these important new regulations.