Miss Meg Minasian, co-founder of The MW Clinic London, shares her view on the need for the UK Government to deliver the regulation guidleines they have promised.
The clock is ticking...
As an experienced surgeon and doctor, and co-founder of The MW Clinic London, I once again wholeheartedly advocate the UK Government's commitment to publishing an outline of new aesthetics industry regulations and licensing guidance by the end of July 2023. This overdue regulation is was one of the recommendations of the House of Commons Health and Social Care Committee’s second report of session 2022 to 2023 on the impact of body image on mental and physical health. The Government's response, including the commitment to a July 2023 deadline can be found here.
It is without question a vital step towards ensuring the safety, quality, and professionalism within the aesthetics industry, which has seen exponential growth in recent years.
The aesthetics industry has undoubtedly contributed to boosting confidence levels and empowering individuals to feel their best. However, it has also seen its fair share of malpractices and unethical conduct, which can have long-lasting and damaging consequences for some unlucky individuals.
One of the most significant benefits of introducing comprehensive regulations lies in patient safety. Even many non-invasive aesthetic procedures carry risks, and without proper oversight, these risks can potentially escalate into life-altering complications. Implementing strict standards for training, qualifications, and clinical practices will help reduce the number of adverse events, preventing unnecessary suffering and saving patients from potential disfigurement, blindness or worse.
This may sound rather dramatic but it is important to understand that an inexperienced or poorly trained practitioner may not realise that even a common facial filler injection, if delivered wrongly, can cause blindness in a patient.
Moreover, well-defined regulations will enhance transparency in the industry. Currently, it is very hard for any prospective patient to find and compare the qualifications and credibility of practitioners, leading to risky decisions. A licensing system, will help individuals seeking aesthetic treatments identify legitimate practitioners with the necessary expertise and training, ultimately promoting much more responsible and educated choices.
The regulations can also serve to professionalise the aesthetics industry, elevating it to the standards of other medical practices. As an NHS ophthalmic surgeon, I am familiar with the rigorous processes and protocols in place to maintain the highest level of patient care and safety. By integrating similar standards into the aesthetics field, we can bridge the gap between medical disciplines, fostering mutual respect and cooperation between professionals.
Critics of industry regulations may argue that it stifles innovation and imposes unnecessary burdens on practitioners. However, such concerns can be effectively addressed by designing a regulatory framework that encourages innovation while safeguarding patient well-being. Striking the right balance between safety and progress will result in a thriving industry that enables exciting new technology, such as Sciton Broadband Light phototherapy (BBL), while also upholding clear ethical practices.
Additionally, with a robust regulatory system in place, the aesthetics industry will likely see an increase in consumer trust. When individuals feel confident in the safety and efficacy of treatments, they are more likely to pursue them, helping to develop and grow the whole sector. This, in turn, should attract top talent and investment, fostering a competitive and flourishing market for aesthetic services.
As we approach the end of July, I urge the UK Government to uphold its commitment and promptly publish the much-needed outline of the new aesthetics industry regulation and licensing guidance. Delaying such crucial measures further only perpetuates the risk posed to patients and the credibility of the industry as a whole. By meeting the deadline, the government will demonstrate its dedication to prioritising public safety and promoting responsible and ethical practices.
The introduction of long-awaited aesthetics industry regulations is a transformative step for the entire field. As a medical professional, I believe that these regulations will bring about a safer, more transparent, and professional environment for both practitioners and patients. Let's embrace this overdue change and work towards a brighter future for the aesthetics industry in the United Kingdom.