10th May 2023

United Kingdom Upcoming Licensing Regime for Non-Surgical Treatments: Key Changes Explained

Last Modified: May 11, 2023

The United Kingdom is taking significant steps towards introducing a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures, such as Botox and dermal fillers. This move has been prompted by growing concerns over the lack of regulation in the industry, which has led to various health-related issues and a pressing need for the government to ensure that practitioners adhere to strict standards in providing these treatments.

An amendment to the Health and Care Bill was proposed in February 2022, which aims to grant the Health Secretary the authority to enforce a licensing system that would encompass non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The UK Government has reiterated its commitment to the licensing of the non-surgical aesthetics sector in England, much to the satisfaction of organisations like the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), British Beauty Council, and the Chartered Institute for Environmental Health (CIEH).

With the potential implementation of this new regulatory framework by July 2023, it is anticipated that anyone considering non-surgical cosmetic treatments will have an opportunity to assess the risks and benefits, ensuring that they make informed decisions. The licensing regime seeks not only to protect patients but also to raise the standards of professionalism and accountability within the aesthetics industry.

The Licensing Regime for Non-Surgical Treatments

Aims and Objectives

The United Kingdom government is introducing a licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures to ensure consistent standards in the aesthetic sector, with the primary objective of protecting individuals from potential harm. The amendments made to the Health and Care Bill empowers the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to implement a licensing scheme focusing on the competence and safety of practitioners delivering these procedures.

Scope of Legislation

The scope of this legislation covers non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox and fillers. The national licensing scheme is designed for:

  • All premises where licensed procedures are conducted.
  • Practitioners of non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

The purpose of these regulations is to ensure that all practitioners performing invasive procedures adhere to a standard of competence and safety that protects members of the public.

Timeline for Implementation

The UK government aims to implement the licensing regime for non-surgical treatments by July 2023. This provides ample time for practitioners, businesses and individuals planning to undertake these procedures to acquaint themselves with the new requirements and weigh up the risks and benefits. The precise details of the licensing scheme will be determined through public consultations to gather a range of opinions from relevant stakeholders.

Standards and Regulations

Hygiene and Safety Standards

The upcoming licensing regime in the UK for non-surgical cosmetic treatments intends to ensure that all practitioners and premises adhere to strict hygiene and safety standards. This includes the proper use of sterilisation equipment, disposal of used materials, and maintaining a clean working environment. Practitioners will be expected to follow approved guidelines that help minimise the risk of infection and ensure the well-being of their clients.

Training and Qualifications

The new regulations will also require practitioners to undergo appropriate training and obtain relevant qualifications before they can provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments, such as Botox and fillers. A comprehensive training programme will be implemented to ensure that practitioners are competent in their respective fields and can deliver services safely and effectively. This may include theoretical knowledge, practical skills, and ongoing professional development.

Infection Control

Infection control is an essential aspect of the standards and regulations governing non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Practitioners will be required to follow stringent infection control measures, such as wearing appropriate personal protective equipment (PPE), using disposable gloves, and ensuring that all instruments are sterilised before and after use. Regular inspections may take place to confirm adherence to these infection control measures.

Insurance

Under the new licensing regime, practitioners offering non-surgical cosmetic treatments will need to have adequate insurance coverage to protect both themselves and their clients. This includes professional indemnity insurance, which covers practitioners in case they are found liable for causing harm or damage during treatment. It is an essential aspect of the regulations that ensures client safety and maintains the professionalism of the field.

Licensing Scheme and Premises Requirements

Licence Applications and Renewals

The upcoming licensing regime in the United Kingdom will introduce consistent standards for individuals carrying out non-surgical cosmetic procedures, ensuring the health and safety of patients. This scheme will require practitioners to apply for and maintain a valid licence, which will be issued by their local licensing authority. The application process will involve submitting relevant documentation, proving qualifications and experience in the field, and adhering to any additional criteria set by the authority.

Licence holders will be required to apply for renewals periodically, likely ranging from one to five years, depending on the requirements set by the local authority. The renewal process may involve reassessing the practitioner's skills and ensuring they stay up-to-date with the latest developments in non-surgical treatments.

Inspections and Enforcement

To guarantee the maintenance of high standards and compliance with the licensing scheme, regular inspections of the premises where non-surgical treatments take place will be conducted. These inspections will assess the hygiene and safety measures in place, as well as evaluate the practitioner's adherence to the approved standards and procedures. Authorities may also conduct random or targeted inspections based on received complaints or concerns about a particular practitioner.

In cases of non-compliance with the licensing scheme, authorities may take various enforcement actions, including:

  • Issuing a warning or notice requiring the practitioner to take corrective measures
  • Imposing fines or penalties for breaches of regulations
  • Temporarily suspending or revoking the practitioner's licence

Through these enforcement measures, the new licensing regime aims to protect consumers from the risks associated with unregulated non-surgical cosmetic procedures and ensure that practitioners meet the highest possible standards in the industry.

Industry Impact and Public Opinion

Impact on Aesthetics Industry

The licensing regime in the United Kingdom for non-surgical treatments is expected to create a significant impact on the aesthetics industry. With the introduction of this licensing, practitioners will be required to meet minimum criteria and ensure hygiene and safety standards for premises where cosmetic procedures such as Botox and dermal fillers are offered.

This move aims to prevent unskilled practitioners from carrying out non-surgical cosmetic procedures and reduce the high rate of complications after treatments. As a result, legitimate aesthetics businesses may benefit from an increase in public trust and confidence, as consumers can be assured that they are receiving treatments from skilled and qualified practitioners.

Public Consultation Process

In order to ensure that the licensing regime addresses the concerns of both the public and the aesthetics industry, a public consultation process will likely take place. The consultation will provide an opportunity for these stakeholders to voice their opinions and contribute to shaping the final regulations. This may cover areas such as:

  • Training requirements for practitioners
  • Standards for premises
  • Consumer protection measures

By incorporating feedback from the public and the aesthetics industry, the licensing regime should be successful in addressing the key concerns driving the need for these new regulations.

Media and Advertising Restrictions

To further protect consumers and maintain public trust, the licensing regime may also include stricter media and advertising restrictions. These restrictions could encompass traditional advertising, social media, and influencer advertising, with tighter controls over claims made in promotional materials. Potential advertising restrictions may include:

  • Ensuring that advertisements for non-surgical treatments are truthful and not misleading
  • Prohibiting before-and-after images that might create unrealistic expectations
  • Banning advertisements targeting vulnerable or young audiences

These restrictions aim to ensure that the public receives accurate and reliable information about non-surgical treatments, and minimises the risk of misleading or deceptive advertising practices.

A popular example is the recent ban on a Botox advert aimed at helping mums 'dazzle at the school gates'. Botox advert aimed at helping mums 'dazzle at the school gates' gets banned for exploiting women's insecurities. Read the whole story here in the Daily Mail.

Focus on Patient Safety and Mental Health

Risks and Potential Harm

Patient safety is a primary concern in the upcoming licensing regime for non-surgical treatments in the United Kingdom. Risks associated with these treatments include physical harm and negative impacts on mental health. Ensuring proper regulation and oversight is essential to minimise these risks.

Potential harm includes infection, scarring, and adverse reactions to treatments. Furthermore, inadequate treatment can lead to complications and exacerbate pre-existing mental health issues relating to body image.

Related: Do Fillers Have Longterm Side Effects

Role of Expert Doctors and Nurses

The Health and Care Bill highlights the importance of expert doctors and nurses in offering non-surgical treatments. Accredited professionals with relevant training and experience will improve patient safety by:

  • Conducting thorough assessments to determine suitability for treatment
  • Ensuring that treatments are carried out safely and effectively
  • Using their expertise to identify and mitigate risks

The licensing regime will ensure that only qualified professionals can perform non-surgical treatments. This will reduce the risk of patient harm and reinforce the commitment to mental health.

Related: How To Choose The Right Injector

Addressing Body Image Concerns

Patients seeking non-surgical treatments may struggle with body image issues, which can negatively impact their mental health. To address these concerns, expert doctors and nurses should:

  • Engage in open and honest communication with patients about expectations and outcomes
  • Offer guidance on realistic, healthy goals for the patient
  • Be prepared to counsel patients on mental health resources if necessary

By considering mental health as an integral part of patient safety, the upcoming licensing regime will ensure that individuals receive appropriate care for both their physical and emotional well-being.

Addressing Underage Cosmetic Procedures

Restrictions for Under 18s

In the United Kingdom, it is against the law for anyone under the age of 18 to receive botulinum toxin and cosmetic filler treatments. This also extends to making arrangements, such as booking appointments, for these procedures to be given to individuals under 18 years old. This regulation aims to protect minors from the risks and complications associated with such treatments.

Educational Initiatives

To further address the issue of underage cosmetic procedures, the government is working on educational initiatives to inform both the general public and professionals within the cosmetic treatment industry about the importance of age restrictions and safe practices. These initiatives may include training programs, seminars, and informative materials, equipping professionals with essential knowledge and skills to identify and prevent attempts to access cosmetic treatments by underage individuals.

Awareness Campaigns

In addition to restrictions and educational initiatives, the government plans to launch awareness campaigns targeting minors and their parents or guardians. These campaigns will focus on promoting healthy body image, establishing a better understanding of the risks associated with cosmetic treatments, and encouraging open discussions between youths and their guardians about the potential consequences of such procedures. By creating an informed society, the government aims to reduce the demand for cosmetic treatments among under 18s and uphold the new licensing regime for non-surgical treatments.

This industry update has been put together by the team at Dr. Aesthetica, the leading medical aesthetic clinic in Birmingham, UK. We are excited about these changes as we have been long-term proponents of tighter regulations in the UK's aesthetics industry. If you would like to learn about the treatments we offer, contact our friendly and knowledgeable staff for more information at 0121 769 0242 or email us at [email protected]

Post Reviewed by: Dr Baldeep Farmah
Medically Reviewed on: 10th May 2023
Dr Baldeep Farmah is the Medical Director and lead Doctor of Dr Aesthetica, a Medical Aesthetic Clinic.

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