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Aesthetic Medicine
Aesthetic Medicine


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Changing the law for cosmetic procedures

A swe are aware, non-surgical cosmetic procedures like botulinum toxin and fillers administered by inexperienced and unqualified practitioners could soon be a thing of the past thanks to sweeping new legislation from the UK Government.

Following years of horror stories of people receiving poor care from inadequate practitioners, and witnessing highly questionable industry ethics, the recently amended Health and Care Act, which received Royal Assent in April, enables Health Secretary Sajid Javid to roll out comprehensive new legislation that will work to regulate a sector that, until now, has operated largely free from legal oversight.

WHY IS NEW LEGISLATION NEEDED?

Cosmetic treatments have evolved so much in recent decades, as has client demand, and the legislation that should be in place to ensure patient health and safety has simply not kept pace.

Most cosmetic treatments now fall outside the scope of the original definition of regulated treatments, which means that the sector is effectively unregulated.

There are currently several voluntary registers of accredited practitioners and approved education and training providers. However, these are not mandatory for practitioners to join, which means that there are many unaccredited practitioners with no education or qualifications, providing substandard and often dangerous services. This is a major threat to patient safety.

WHAT WILL THE NEW LEGISLATION ENTAIL?

The new legislation will likely cover many aspects of the sector, from health and safety insurance, banning treatments forunder 18s and outlawing adverts across all forms of media, which target those underthat age group.

Vitally, the newly introduced licensing scheme will likely establish mandatory education levels for practitioners, which include the necessity for certain qualifications, as well as the legal requirement for practitioners to register to be licensed to practice non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

As well as making the sector more transparent, the legislation is designed to make practitioners far more accountable to their patients, bringing it more in line with other highly regulated medical sectors.

HOW DO PRACTITIONERS REGISTER?

It is expected that the government will use the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) to manage the licensing requirements of practitioners.

The JCCP is the body that registers practitioners and approved education and training providers with the key remit of ensuring patient safety. It sets standards and competency frameworks for the industry in collaboration with the Cosmetic Practice Standards Authority (CPSA).

The JCCP has long been lobbying to administer the new license and has outlined its proposal in a “Ten Point Plan for Safer Regulation in the Aesthetic Sector”.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS WILL LIKELY BE REQUIRED?

It is expected that a requirement of registration will require cosmetic practitioners to hold an accredited qualification, such as a Level 7 qualification, e.g., a postgraduate certificate in aesthetic medicine. Alternatively, there will likely be the option to pass a Fast Track Assessment (FTA).

WHAT IS THE FTA?

The online medical learning platform, Learna, is the exclusive provider to the JCCP to deliver part one of the FTA. The Learna/JCCP FTA is specifically designed for aesthetic practitioners looking to register with the JCCP who don’t already hold a Level 7 postgraduate qualification.

The new FTA offers an alternative to more costly and timeconsuming qualifications for practitioners who do not have the time or resources to gain postgraduate medical qualifications.

It consists of two separate components: a three-hour theoretical examination and an Objective Structured Clinical Exam (OSCE).

The latter can be completed in approved test centres across the UK, whereas Learna is the only approved educational provider to deliver the three-hour theoretical exam.

To apply for the FTA, registrants must have a minimum of three years of experience and conduct at least 25 botulinum toxin and 25 facial filler procedures per annum. Applicants will be expected to submit a record of these procedures and have the procedures verified by their supervisor that is in place as part of their JCCP terms of registration.

WHY COMPLETE THE FTA?

Aside from the fact it will likely become a legal requirement for those who don’t already hold a Level 7 qualification, the successful completion of the FTA will not only provide practitioners with a more convenient way of applying for JCCP registration, but subsequently reassure your clients of your competency of practice and demonstrate your prioritisation of public protection and safety.

It has been specifically designed to promote and enhance working professionals’ knowledge and, ultimately, their practice in cosmetic medicine and complements separate, practice-based recognised prior learning (RPL) awards.

“As well as making the sector more transparent, the legislation is designed to make practitioners far more accountable to their patients”

HOW WILL THE CHANGES MAKE TREATMENTS SAFER FOR PATIENTS?

It goes without saying that patients receiving treatment from educated, trained, qualified professionals in a safe, clean environment, operating within a highly legislated and regulated sector, are going to receive far superior results and outcomes than many patients currently do today.

WILL GETTING COSMETIC TREATMENTS BECOME MORE EX-PENSIVE FOR PATIENTS?

Potentially yes. However, those already operating in line with professional guidelines who have the necessary education, qualifications and skills in place will not necessarily need to raise their prices.

Those practitioners who are currently operating below what would be considered industry best practice will need to reconsider their future in the sector and either find employment elsewhere, or look to undertake the necessary qualifications and legally mandated requirements necessary to continue to practice legally.

And in these cases, prices will likely rise considerably.

Ultimately it is my belief that this long-overdue overhaul of the aesthetics sector in the UK will benefit the industry as a whole, improving standards and health outcomes for patients, and empowering practitioners to further professionalise, boost their career prospects, and broaden their skill base.

DR ANA CRISTINA DINIZ SILVA

Dr Ana Cristina Diniz Silva is the Programme Leader for the MSc in Cosmetic Medicine at online education provider Learna. Dr Silva has years of experience as a cosmetic practitioner, providing treatments including botulinum toxin injections, non-surgical lifting with threads, hyaluronic acid and calcium hydroxyapatite fillers, and fractional laser treatment.

For more information on the Learna/JCCP Fast Track Assessment (FTA), visit https://www.learna.ac.uk/courses/jccp.

About

This article appears in the July-August 2022 Issue of Aesthetic Medicine


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This article appears in the July-August 2022 Issue of Aesthetic Medicine