APPG releases report calling on Government to regulate medical aesthetics

In the latest update to the ongoing regulation-in-aesthetics debate, The All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing (APPG BAW) is calling on the UK Government to address the absence of regulation over botulinum toxin and dermal fillers with a new report which makes 17 recommendations to help bridge the regulatory gap.

The group’s final report into injectables and similar aesthetic non-surgical treatments has come after a year-long inquiry into the issue due to the explosion in the popularity and availability of these treatments, as well as concern around the lack of a legal framework of standards, which the APPG says – echoing years of outrage and frustration from the medical aesthetic community – leaves consumers at risk and undermines the field’s ability to develop.

The APPG investigated practitioner standards and qualifications, the case for a registration of practitioners or licensing, ethics and mental health considerations, and the serious issues around advertising and social media.

The Group, chaired by Carolyn Harris MP and Judith Cummins MP, has made 17 recommendations for Government to fill the regulatory gap, including:

These recommendations are based on evidence given in public inquiry sessions and written submissions from a wide range of stakeholders, including trade associations, aesthetics industry operators, trainers, practitioners, health bodies, regulatory agencies and consumers themselves.

However, the APPG did state on its website: “There is much good practice from aesthetic practitioners in the beauty and medic industries, but also cases of poor practice from both. It was not the APPG’s intention to state who should or shouldn’t be allowed to become a practitioner, but to ensure all practitioners gain the appropriate training and prove their competence to deliver advanced aesthetic treatments.”

Cummins and Harris commented: “We strongly urge the Government to implement the recommendations in our report and to take action to improve the situation for the benefit of the industry and public safety. Maintaining the status quo is simply not an option.  

“For too long there have been next to no limits on who can carry out aesthetic treatments, what qualifications they must have or where they can administer them.”

They added: “We launched this inquiry as we were deeply concerned that as the number of advanced treatments on the market continues to grow, the regulation remains fragmented, obscure and out of date, which puts the public at risk.”


Commenting on the report Dr Tristan Mehta, founder of clinic STORY and Harley Academy – which devised a Level 7 Diploma in Botox and Dermal Fillers in partnership with the JCCP to give healthcare professionals access to best-in-class medical aesthetics training – said: “The recommendations from the year-long parliamentary group consensus are a significant step in ensuring public protection from dangerous complications associated with non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as blindness and permanent scarring.

“…Through calling for fillers to become prescription-only and mandatory medical oversight for such treatments, the risk of permanent complications can be significantly reduced – the treatment for many complications with injectables need a medical prescriber.

“As an approved partner and Training & Education Committee member of the JCCP, we will be working to ensure that Harley Academy delivers on its mission to qualify medical injectors across the country to the requested standard  – a Level 7 Diploma in Injectables.

“Some skeptics may see this as just another report and recommendation, but when will this become legislation? It is likely that regulation will be enforced by Environmental Health – the same way the tattoo industry is regulated – to ensure that all premises and practitioners meet these standards over the coming years.

“Since the Health Education England report in 2013, aesthetics has become more mainstream, with consumers becoming significantly more conscious of treatments, the possible benefits and associated complications. It is a crucial time for the sector to come together and finally achieve much-needed regulation.”

Read the full report here

Many of the points raised in the report are also included in the JCCP's 10-Point Plan for regulation, released in March.