The UK Government Crack Down on Unregulated Injectable Treatments: Introducing Mandatory Licensing – Our Stance

At the beginning of March the UK Government confirmed that a mandatory licensing scheme will be introduced to regulate non-surgical injectables. The Government announced the news earlier this month stating, “although the majority of the Aesthetics industry shows good practice when it comes to patient safety, this step will ensure consistent standards and protect individuals from those without licences, including from the potentially harmful physical and mental impacts of poorly performed cosmetic procedures”.

Doctors, including our own, have been campaigning for greater regulation for well over a decade, so this recent news is a huge step forward for the Aesthetics industry. Introducing mandatory licensing for injectors will not only elevate the standards of the industry, but also make sure that the general public are more protected than ever when it comes to anti-wrinkle injections and dermal filler, ensuring the highest safety standards and making botched injecting and physical and emotional distress following back-alley procedures a thing of the past.

“WE ARE 100% SUPPORTING THE LICENSING REGULATIONS AND WE’RE RELIEVED THAT THIS IS FINALLY HAPPENING.” 

Dr Flor Kent, Aesthetic Doctor, London Real Skin

As a CQC regulated clinic with highly-experienced Doctors and stringent patient safety measures and hygiene standards in place, we spoke to our Lead Dermatologist and Medical Director, Dr Martin Wade, Aesthetic Doctor, Dr Flor Kent and our Business and Operations Manager, Carina Briggs, to get their take on this recent industry breakthrough.

How will injectable licensing requirements help to protect the safety of the public?

 

It will help to protect the public in a number of ways – physically, emotionally and even financially. The reality is, injectables, like most medical treatments do come with associated risks and adverse reactions can happen. However, the new requirements will significantly reduce botched injecting. In the House of Lords’ discussion earlier this month, Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said that “far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures”. Taking under qualified and unregulated injecting out of the equation will ensure that people are not left with the lasting physical and emotional consequences.

“SADLY WE HAVE BEEN FACED WITH A DEVASTATING AMOUNT OF PATIENTS WHO HAVE RECEIVED POORLY ADMINISTERED INJECTABLES ELSEWHERE, WHICH HAS CAUSED LONG LASTING AFFECTS BOTH MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY” 

Carina Briggs, Business and Operations Manager, London Real Skin

We are here to support any patient who reaches out to us that feels they may need a second professional or medical opinion and we will always do our best to address their concerns with an ethical approach.

In 2018, Save Face released an audit report, which revealed that they received just under 1,000 complaints against unregulated practitioners and almost 400 of those patients had resulted in seeking and paying for corrective treatments. It’s true – if you pay cheap, you pay twice. It’s not only cosmetic, you are investing in your health.

Of those complaints patients reported lumps and nodules post-treatment, feeling as though they looked worse than before treatment, and some even developed infection, a vascular occlusion or impending necrosis, both of which are completely avoidable life-threatening conditions when in the hands of a knowledgeable, experienced and correctly qualified Aesthetic Doctor.

What exactly do you pay for when it comes to injectables?

 

One of our core values at London Real Skin is transparency. Whether this is recommending a more suitable treatment, which you may not have previously considered but we believe will achieve your desired outcome, or whether that is pricing transparency. So, why do injectables sometimes vary in price?

Our prices reflect the service that we provide. Aside from a complimentary consultation, our prices include a follow-up appointment to see how you’re getting on post-treatment and a top-up of your treatment, if required. The industry is constantly evolving with new technology, techniques and training. You’re paying to be treated in a Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulated clinic, a doctor’s time, the ongoing training to ensure they can not only deliver the best possible results, but to do that safely and effectively, as well as product costs and the top quality service we always strive to provide. Prices in the Aesthetics industry often reflect the level of care and service you can expect to receive.

WE CAUGHT UP WITH OUR MEDICAL AND BUSINESS PROFESSIONALS TO GET THEIR TAKE ON THE RECENT LICENSING BREAKTHROUGH…

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT THAT THIS LEVEL OF REGULATION IS IMPLEMENTED IN THE AESTHETICS INDUSTRY?

 
Carina Briggs, Business and Operations Manager says, “personally, I have always struggled to understand why non-surgical aesthetic procedures are unregulated and how a foreign substance can be injected by someone with no medical experience and yet, other services such as tattoos are government regulated. Health risks are much greater from the injection of a pharmaceutical product and even the use of an aesthetic medical device, especially if it’s carried out by someone unqualified”. 
 

Lead Dermatologist and Medical Director, Dr Martin Wade, agrees and expresses his concerns adding, “if unqualified treatments continue to be performed, it will negatively impact our industry. It is important to have a moral conscience as medical professionals and as a clinic. The lack of unethically performed treatments currently carried out is incredibly concerning.

“THERE ARE SO MANY POSITIVES TO INJECTABLE SERVICES ASIDE FROM CONFIDENCE BUILDING, LIKE TREATING MEDICAL CONCERNS SUCH AS MIGRAINES, EXCESSIVE SWEATING AND TEETH GRINDING.”

Dr Martin Wade, Lead Dermatologist and Medical Director, London Real Skin

Injectable treatments can give some people a new lease of life, more than just a boost of confidence. Our Aesthetic Doctors have the ability to treat debilitating concerns and conditions, which can make more of a difference than you might think. Campaigns over the years have encouraged those looking for a clinic to choose wisely, to choose only a Doctor or Nurse, but only now have the reasons been brought to light.

Dr Flor Kent, Aesthetic Doctor at London Real Skin, is extremely passionate and has campaigned tirelessly for this change with several of her colleagues. She told us, “we are 100% supporting the licensing regulations and we’re relieved that this is FINALLY happening. As Aesthetic Doctors, our utmost priority is to protect the public who are not always fully aware of the risks and complications, some of which can leave patients with avoidable life-changing conditions.”

Our Business and Operations Manager strongly believes that the next step in ensuring the safety of the public when it comes to Botox and fillers would be for the “Aesthetics industry to introduce national minimum standards for practitioner training and regulated qualifications in line with those national standards”. Towards the end of 2021, the Government implemented a ban on under-18s receiving Botox, fillers and other invasive aesthetic treatments. Carina says “in my opinion, dermal fillers should be made a prescription-only medication (POM). In addition to this, individuals should be psychologically assessed for treatment suitability during the initial consultation before any injectables service is carried out – this is already standard procedure at London Real Skin”.

The 2018 Save Face audit report also highlighted that out of the 900 complaints “84% of patients said they didn’t know what products were used or where they were sourced from. Upon investigation by Save Face, 30% of practitioners investigated were believed to be importing products from overseas via the internet”. The danger is that imported products are likely counterfeits, guaranteed not to be FDA approved and most importantly, most probably not safe to inject. Making injectable products prescription-only would eradicate this danger completely.

Dr Flor Kent also added that “the industry has moved on from standard anti-wrinkle and filler injectables, and with a much wider range of injectable services available comes a much higher risk of adverse reactions. This further reiterates the importance that injectable treatments should only be carried out by those who are qualified and knowledgeable enough to recognise and resolve those potential reactions and to do so efficiently to avoid the patient experiencing lasting harm”.

How will this positively impact the Aesthetics industry and its professionals?

The industry and its professionals will be elevated and their professional qualifications recognised as they should be. Carina adds, “The general public will finally have reassurance in the services available and on the rare occasion, should any complications arise there is a legal and qualified prescribing practitioner on site to manage the situations appropriately and efficiently”.

Our Aesthetic Doctor, Dr Kent, raised a very important point stating, “most cases of botched injectables end up being seen by the NHS in accident and emergency. If there is a vascular occlusion which leads to loss of circulation this can become life-threatening and when the illegitimate injector does not have the skills or knowledge to deal with it, patients have no choice but to present to A&E. Again, this is completely avoidable and is a waste of the National Health Service’s time, especially when their time is already extremely stretched and there could be other seriously ill patients waiting to be treated”.

Dr Wade added, “Patients would have peace of mind when making the decision to select a clinic, knowing practitioners will need to hold a licence and they will be in the hands of qualified professionals and in a safe environment.”

We have treated numerous patients who have achieved wonderful results whether that is following cosmetic filler treatment, or botox for medical conditions such as hyperhidrosis and bruxism. The potential for amazing results far outweighs the associated risks and when in the hands of the right practitioner, can be truly life-changing. We pride ourselves on the knowledge and experience our Aesthetic Team holds, we take the time to listen to your concerns and strive to deliver a safe and ethical service. This will always be our priority.

At London Real Skin we are proud to be a CQC regulated clinic with highly qualified Aesthetic Doctors who have 20+ years experience of administering Botox and fillers. This provides our patients with the highest standard of treatment and care to achieve their desired results.

Book a complimentary consultation with Dr Flor Kent by completing our online enquiry form, or by contacting us on 0207 183 5892 or info@londonrealskin.com.

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