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Regulation Is Vital To Protect Patient Safety, Says Lawyer

Report Into Standards Of Cosmetic Surgery Industry Expected Within Weeks


By Helen MacGregor

Medical law experts say greater regulation of staff who provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments is ‘vital’ to protect patient safety and eradicate poor practice throughout the industry.

The call comes in the month NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh is expected to release his report into a review of plastic surgery standards in the UK.

The review, ordered after the faulty PIP breast implants scandal is expected to suggest a new law requiring everyone from beauty therapists to medically-trained doctors, to have additional formal qualifications before carrying out treatments.

Sir Bruce has previously expressed concerns that non-surgical procedures - including dermal fillers and laser treatment for wrinkles or hair reduction - make up 90% of the sector but are generally unregulated and experts at Irwin Mitchell say this is currently putting thousands of people at risk.

Mandy Luckman, a medical law expert at Irwin Mitchell’s Birmingham office who specialises in cosmetic surgery claims, said: “We are seeing an increasing number of enquiries and potential claims involving practitioners that are not medically qualified and exposing patients to harm.

“This is why we believe appropriate regulation throughout this field is vital in protecting patient safety and ensuring individuals are given the best possible care.

“Patients are currently at risk from poor practice and permanent or long-lasting damage because those employed to treat them have not had the sufficient training and qualifications and there must be an end to this.

“We regularly receive enquiries from individuals that have sustained significant damage, which on occasions is permanent, following fillers and Botox procedures.

“We welcome any recommendations in the report that ensure people who choose to undergo non-invasive procedures are in safe hands throughout the industry.”

The review into the cosmetic industry was requested by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, after around 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), mostly in private UK clinics.

The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.

Read more about Irwin Mitchell's expertise relating to cosmetic surgery claims