Your guide to Non-Surgical Cosmetic Interventions
Believe it or not, it has been over five years since news broke that a number of breast implants, manufactured in France, contained mattress grade silicon and not medical grade. It was news that shocked the world and called into question not only the process for approving medical supplies, but also what assurances patients have of their future safety and wellbeing.
In response, the Government launched a Department of Health review, led by Sir Bruce Keogh, in August 2012. The review committee was tasked with investigating and reviewing the end-to-end delivery of these treatments, from practices and training to advertising and providers, in a bid to drive change, improve standards and protect the public. As part of his investigation, Sir Bruce Keogh was famously quoted comparing the regulation of the industry to the regulation of a ‘ball point pen’ calling into question practices and procedures and recommending urgent changes, to protect the public.
As part of the review, campaigning by a number of professional associations saw the investigation expand from surgical breast augmentation, to incorporate a wide range of non-surgical treatments, including laser & IPL, Botox, Dermal Fillers, chemical peels, micro-pigmentation, micro-dermabrasion and many more. It moved from being a very specific investigation into the PIP Breast Implant scandal, to an investigation which spanned several industries, including ours; a transition with the potential to change the face of our industry, but also one which provided huge opportunity for professional therapists.
BABTAC at work:
It quickly became clear that rather than putting public safety at the forefront of the investigation, external influencers including many Doctors and Nurses had the potential to derail the investigation, stipulating who should be administering these treatments and not how they should be delivered. As a result, there was a very real risk that beauty therapists could be excluded from ever delivering these treatments again, not only impacting the livelihood of our members, but actually restricting client choice, without necessarily increasing public safety.
At this point, we stepped in and started to represent therapists and members at a national level, contributing our recommendations on training, advertising and regulation. Our full submission can be found in the members’ area at babtac.com for anyone interested in reading it. We were delighted at the time to see that the recommendations made by Sir Bruce Keogh aligned with 75% of those we made in our response to the consultation, putting public safety at the forefront.
Following the initial investigation, Sir Bruce Keogh and the Department of Health published their findings from the Review and their recommendations for improving the industry and public safety. These findings then passed to the Government for review, who agreed to establish a cross-profession qualification based on a recognised prior learning framework, to ensure that all providers, regardless of professional background are delivering these treatments to the same level of quality and safety. Sadly, the Government refuted the call for mandatory regulation of the industry, citing cost as a big influencing factor, but did make recommendation for appropriate voluntary regulation to be considered. The next stage was a review by Health Education England, whose investigation specifically focussed on the qualifications and training already available in the market across all professions, and then consulted on and developed an agreed qualification and training pathway. Their findings and recommended qualification pathways will see all providers, including beauty therapists, able to train from Level 4 up to Level 7 depending on the discipline. Level 4 represents a Year One Foundation Degree Course, while Level 7 offers a Postgraduate Degree Level. Our training arm CIBTAC already offers some Level 4 qualifications, and we are looking to develop additional courses and levels at the moment.
The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners
Once the agreed qualification pathways had been developed, sanctioned and released, the Government Review came to an end. Many associations are continuing to lobby on the issue, calling for mandatory rather than voluntary regulation, however to all intents and purposes, the industry will continue as before, albeit with access to considerably better training and consistent standards.
In addition, leading representatives from the industry have come together, forming the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), a self-regulatory body for non-surgical aesthetic treatments. Following Government recommendation of voluntary sector regulation, the JCCP formed to establish and maintain a voluntary Register, enabling the public to clearly identify safe practitioners across all treatment disciplines. Their aim is to establish and support a second register as well, listing approved education, training and accreditation providers, to enable practitioners to find an approved course of the appropriate standard. It is hoped that these Registers will give credibility to responsible, qualified professionals across all disciplines and will also provide public assurance of quality and safety. It is expected that the Registers will be operational by November 2017.
Our next steps…
For both BABTAC & CIBTAC, it is crucial that we continue to represent the industry and campaign for best practice. We are currently meeting internally with regards to the next steps for the industry, training and qualifications and regulation and will continue to do so. If you want to add your voice to ours, or have your say on this topic, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.