There is still a ‘pressing need for the Government to take action to protect the public’ from ‘unscrupulous’ practitioners who are providing non-surgical cosmetic treatments, says former health minister, Conservative MP Daniel Poulter, three years on from NHS Medical Director Professor Keogh’s review of regulation in the cosmetic interventions industry.

Following ‘horrific’ reports of beauty therapists undertaking facial dissection courses with cadavers, Poulter says, in the forthcoming issue of the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing (JAN):

‘The reality of high street aesthetics is a world increasingly blighted by unskilled, rogue practitioners.

‘It is completely unacceptable that highly invasive facial dissection courses are now being taught to beauty therapists. If performed incorrectly, these procedures can change a person’s appearance forever.’

Commenting on the failure of the Government to implement Keogh’s review, which made 50 recommendations to improve clinical practice and safety in aesthetics, Poulter says:

‘The inevitable interdepartmental wrangling that occurs across Government, and a lack of a cohesive cross-Governmental desire for a Cosmetic Safety Bill, means that the activities of some of the most unscrupulous ‘practitioners’ still remain unchecked.’

Poulter blasts Health Education England’s efforts in aesthetics:

‘Health Education England has worked for many months on developing high-quality standards of training for cosmetic practitioners … these standards will be meaningless without proper regulation of the practitioners themselves.’

He also highlights the impact of cosmetic patients presenting to clinics with psychological issues, such as body dysmorphia:

‘It is not just the physical aspects of cosmetic care that need regulation, but also patients who may well be seeking treatment due to body dysmorphia, or other underlying psychological issues, should be protected.’

These concerns echo statements made by Poulter two years ago, in the Government’s response to Professor Keogh:

‘At its worst, this is an industry that is exploiting people’s insecurities, driven only by profits and with no regard to the physical and mental wellbeing of patients.’

JAN editor Natasha Devan adds:

‘It is hoped that the Department of Health will urgently work, in collaboration with the newly formed Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, to implement regulation in this area and protect patients from harm. In the absence of formal regulation, the Journal of Aesthetic Nursing will continue to promote patient safety and best practice.’