Tuesday, 16 April, 2024
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UK MPs urge regulation of body image surgeries

UK MPs have urged the government to escalate the introduction of a promised licensing regime for non-surgical cosmetic procedures to prevent vulnerable people from being exploited, and to step up efforts to make the diagnosis and treatment of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) a priority.

In a report published on 2 August the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee identified a rise in body image dissatisfaction as the driver behind increasing demand for procedures such as dermal fillers, reports The British Medical Journal.

The report on the impact of body image on mental and physical health identified a rise in body image dissatisfaction as the driver behind a new market that it described as “largely unregulated”.

The dangers posed by non-surgical cosmetic procedures in vulnerable groups were evident throughout the inquiry, said the MPs.

Key recommendations from the Committee’s report included:
• The introduction of a new licensing regime by July 2023;
• Minimum standards on education and training for administering practitioners;
• The establishment of a safety taskforce; and

  • A two-part consent process which should include full medical and mental health history with a 48-hour cooling off period.

The report also said dermal fillers should be made prescription-only substances, in line with Botox, a move backed by pharmacists last year.

Pharmacists who offer aesthetic services in their outlets supported the call to make dermal fillers prescription-only medicine (POM), as they fear the current state of the industry does not put patient safety first.

The Pharmacist reports that the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing has published several recommendations to the government on how it can plug the current lack of a legal framework of standards around cosmetic treatments.

This comes after their year-long inquiry into cosmetic practices across the UK, since the boom in popularity and availability of these treatments.

The new report also urges the government to review of the growing use of anabolic steroids for cosmetic purposes and proposed a safety campaign for those at risk.

Meanwhile, it urged the Department for Health and Social Care (HSC) to do more to make the diagnosis and treatment of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) a priority.

It also said frontline practitioners should be trained in how parents and carers can positively influence their children’s feelings about their bodies through the behaviours and attitudes they express.

HSC chair Jeremy Hunt said: “The government must act urgently to end the situation where anyone can carry out non-surgical cosmetic procedures, regardless of training or qualifications. We heard of some distressing experiences – a conveyor-belt approach with procedures carried out with no questions asked, procedures that have gone wrong, the use of filthy premises.

“It was clear throughout our inquiry that some groups are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in this growing market that has gone largely unregulated. We need a timetable now for a licensing regime with patient safety at its centre to reduce those risks.

“We hope that ministers will listen to our recommendations and set about creating the safety standards that anyone seeking treatment has a right to expect.”

A start to some form of regulation came about last year, when the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act came into force in England in October, preventing young people from being able to get cosmetic injections.


The BMJ article – Government must regulate non-surgical cosmetic procedures within a year, say MPs (Restricted access)


House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee report (Open access)


The Pharmacist article – Government must speed up regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, say MPs


See more from MedicalBrief archives:


Botched botox and the UK’s legislative crackdown on ‘cosmetic cowboysʼ


Botched cosmetic procedures lead to calls for better legislation


UK crackdown on beauty clinics: ‘1 in 5 put clients at risk’


Demand for cosmetic surgery continues to grow




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