Aesthetics share an overview of the industry associations and how they can support practitioners
It’s well known that due to the nature of non-surgical aesthetic treatments being performed in private practice, most aesthetic practitioners work in isolation. In fact, recent statistics gathered by Hamilton Fraser Cosmetic Insurance suggests that 73% of practitioners spend their time in aesthetics working alone;1 something which has been on the rise in recent years.2 This highlights that many practitioners are likely to be working without a support network of other professionals, unlike common practice in the NHS.
To ensure that those working within the aesthetic specialty are continuously developing and connected to their peers, there are a number of longstanding associations set up for practitioners of all backgrounds, with the sole purpose of providing education, information and continued support.
The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) is the leading professional association for doctors and dentists working in aesthetic medicine. Conceived in the year 2000 by a handful of pioneers in the specialty, BCAM has grown to more than 400 members and has become a registered charity (1181666).
The college is led by a board of trustees headed by president Dr Uliana Gout, who has been a longstanding member. According to the BCAM, Dr Gout is a passionate and globally renowned clinician and educator within the field of aesthetic medicine.
The aims of the college are to advance the effective, safe and ethical practice of aesthetic medicine through leadership, provision of information, education, support, professional development and maintenance of the highest professional standards. In 2019, 86% of members rated BCAM as being important to the conduct of their practice. Members of BCAM can attend the association’s annual conference in September.
Applications for college membership are welcomed for all doctors and dentists with experience in aesthetic medicine. This ranges from students to affiliates to professionals, who must have an up-to-date GMC or GDC registration, and costs £30, £250 and £370, respectively.
The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) is the largest non-profit professional association for aesthetic nurses in the UK, with more than 800 members. Founded in 2010, the organisation is owned by its nursing members, maintains a management board led by nurse prescribers, chair Sharon Bennett and vice chair Sharon King, and is governed by an agreed constitution.
The BACN acts as an expert resource for its membership, providing guidance on best practice, supplying continual professional development, a competency framework and detailed resources, as well as facilitating networking through regional meetings and a large annual conference with leading speakers.
It also offers a welcoming space for nurses who may feel isolated working in aesthetics. The BACN works with several partners in aesthetics, allowing the association to offer access to a number of courses at special discounted rates.
The BACN is open to nurses registered with the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) who hold professional indemnity insurance to carry out treatments. Nurses who join must agree with the BACN Code of Conduct to uphold the standards of all members. The BACN offers several payment options: all new members join as associate members at £200 annually (or £20 per month) and, after a year of membership, are eligible to upgrade to full professional members at £300 annually (or £30 per month). Full members will benefit from extra marketing materials to promote themselves, including a dedicated full membership Charter Mark Certificate, and access to the Charter Mark for their marketing material. They will also get access to a bursary programme to help further their educational needs.
The Aesthetic Complications Expert (ACE) Group is a non-profit, non-promotional organisation that was developed to help improve patient safety.
The ACE Group produces evidence-based, peer reviewed guidelines for the management of a wide variety of complications that can be caused by non-surgical cosmetic procedures. It also provides help and advice to practitioners who do run into difficulties, as well as an emergency hotline, a forum for practitioners, educational modules, workshops, an expert network, journal articles and lectures at various conferences, as well as hosting one annually.
Full membership is £50 per year, and is available to doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives and pharmacists.
The British Association of Dermatologists (BAD) is a registered charity, whose objectives are the practice, teaching, training and research of dermatology. It works with the Department of Health, patient bodies and commissioners across the UK, advising on best practice and the provision of dermatology services across all service settings. It is funded by the activities of its members. The British Cosmetic Dermatology Group (BCDG) is a section of BAD, and is a national group of dermatologists offering educational programmes and supporting clinical and laboratory research into cosmetic dermatology.
BAD aims to stimulate and promote medical scientific research and publish the results of such research in the British Journal of Dermatology and Clinical and Experimental Dermatology. It also advises the government, healthcare providers and other professional bodies on dermatology.
BAD has several membership options: ordinary, trainee, honorary, associate, associate trainee, GP, student, scientist and allied healthcare professional, honorary overseas and retired. An ordinary membership costs £325 per year.
The British Association of Aesthetic Surgeons (BAAPS) is a registered charity that was set up to establish a code of ethics for surgeons to improve standards of safety. It is chaired by consultant plastic surgeons Mr Paul Harris and Miss Mary O’Brien.
Based at the Royal College of Surgeons, BAAPS is made up of 350 members and facilitates training in cosmetic surgery through annual meetings. BAAPS runs a CPD scheme, providing a framework for practitioners to assess their educational needs and to identify and plan appropriate learning activities on a continuous basis. The scheme is consistent with the Academy of Medical Royal Colleges CPD guidance and helps to ensure that General Medical Council (GMC) requirements for revalidation and CPD are met. BAAPS also provides mentors for young surgeons in aesthetics and cosmetic surgery, assisting them with advice and support during training and when starting out in independent practice.
Different membership options are available. Surgeons can apply for either trainee, provisional, full UK, overseas or retired memberships. All new membership applications are evaluated by the council of BAAPS and then voted on at the annual general meeting.
The Society of Mesotherapy of the United Kingdom (SoMUK) was founded in 2013. The goals and interests of the SoMUK are the spreading, promotion and development of mesotherapy in the UK.
The primary goal of the SoMUK is to provide an innovative forum for practitioners with a common interest in mesotherapy to exchange views and ideas, encourage research and improve patient management. SoMUK has a list of professional standards to ensure that practitioners are appropriately trained and experienced, follow current guidelines or protocols, are aware of additional responsibilities if they have prescribing privileges or if they train others, are able to safeguard their patients and that they are properly insured. SoMUK also offer a variety of training dates throughout the year.
SoMUK is open to a wide variety of medical practitioners including dermatologists, cosmetic surgeons, general practitioners, family practitioners, gynaecologists/obstetricians, anaesthetists, dentists, ophthalmologists, ENT specialists, nurses, and pharmacists. To be eligible for a regular membership costing an annual fee of £150, practitioners must be active in mesotherapy and have a medical degree. Associated membership is for anyone interested in mesotherapy who does not have a medical degree, and will cost £100. Associate membership includes all the same privileges except voting, holding office or taking part in board meetings.
The British Association of Sclerotherapists (BAS) is the professional association for UK and Ireland practitioners. A non-profit group formed in 2002, with the aim of raising standards and promoting best practice and education in foam sclerotherapy and microsclerotherapy, the BAS is a source of reliable information for practitioners, the public and the media. It is governed by a board of 10 surgeons, doctors and nurses who are experts in the field. Current office bearers are president Mr Philip Coleridge Smith, chairman Dr Stephen Tristram, treasurer Dr Martyn King and secretary to the board and operations manager, Hilary Furber.
Members benefit from ongoing professional development including annual conferences, member-only resources and updates, shadowing opportunities and workshops, and support from a network of experienced practitioners. The web-based member directory is a useful promotional tool for members as well as an important resource for prospective patients seeking guidance about treatment options and recommended practitioners.
How can you join? Membership is open to practitioners over the age of 18 who comply with GMC, NMC or GDC rules and good practice guidelines and can demonstrate relevant qualifications and indemnity insurance. Membership costs £125 per year.
The British Association of Hair Restoration Surgery was founded in 1996 to promote the understanding and reputation of hair restoration surgery in the UK and Ireland. The non-profit association aims to promote understanding and the reputation of hair restoration, as well as foster communication amongst members and other bodies. BAHRS is led by president Dr Greg Williams.
BAHRS runs an annual conference, as well as holding workshops and participating in larger-scale events throughout the year. All members are expected to sign a Code of Conduct which outlines honourable behaviour and professional standards that must be adhered to in order to remain a member.
Application for membership is open to a range of professionals with an interest in hair loss and hair restoration, which must be supported by a reference from a BAHRS surgeon member to be considered. Various membership options are available, including full medical for hair transplant surgeons who perform regular procedures that costs £400, affiliate hair transplant surgeon membership for those who do fewer procedures for £250, as well as categories for affiliate trichologists, dermatologists, scientists and scalp micropigmentation practitioners that cost £150.
The British Medical Laser Association (BMLA) represents dermatologists, plastic surgeons, nurses, technologists, scientists, beauty therapists, manufacturers and safety advisers who have an interest in the application of lasers or energy-based devices.
Among its core activities, the BMLA informs national policy, ensures continual improvement of safety and educational standards in the field of medical and aesthetic lasers, and promotes collaboration between clinical, aesthetic, scientific and manufacturing disciplines. An annual conference is held each year, providing a unique platform for the exchange of knowledge, ideas, recent advances, and everything else in the field of lasers and light-based devices.
Basic membership costs £45 and a full membership costs £95 per year. Full BMLA membership means the individual is also a member of the European Laser Association (ELA) and can benefit from discounts for any annual ELA-convened conference advertised on the BMLA website.
The British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons (BAPRAS) is a non-profit organisation, started with the aim of raising awareness of the breadth of plastic surgery, to promote innovation in teaching, learning, and research and to increase overall understanding of the profession. BAPRAS has a governing body to formulate and implement policy and manage the affairs of the association, led by consultant plastic surgeon Mr Mark Henley.
BAPRAS runs a range of activities, largely for plastic surgeon members, but also with the aim of raising awareness amongst wider healthcare professionals. Besides holding bi-annual scientific meetings and running training courses, BAPRAS provides awards, scholarships and grants.
Prospective members working in plastic surgery can choose between 10 different membership types, depending on which is most applicable. Full membership costs £550 a year and applicants are approved by the BAPRAS standards committee.
Practitioners across the UK can also join various regional associations. The Association of Scottish Aesthetic Practitioners (ASAP), the Welsh Aesthetic and Cosmetic Society (WACS), Dermatology Aesthetic Nurses Association of Ireland (DANAI) and the Irish Association of Plastic Surgeons (IAPS) have all been established as representative bodies for delegates in their areas. Both ASAP and WACS hold annual conferences, while DANI and IAPS hold annual members’ meetings.
As well as joining industry associations, practitioners can also choose to become registered with The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) and Save Face. The JCCP is a UK charity that registers practitioners and approved education and training providers with the purpose of ensuring patient safety. It aims to provide credible regulation, protection and guidance for the public/patients in a currently unregulated sector. Save Face is a national register of practitioners who provide non-surgical cosmetic treatments. Each practitioner on the register has been inspected to ensure they are following Save Face’s set of standards. Both registers are recognised by the government, and accredited by the Professional Standards Authority
Membership with any of the groups listed above can benefit practitioners both old and new. By joining, you can ensure you stay connected to the aesthetic community, stay up to date with industry developments and help to ensure that all aesthetic procedures are carried out in the safest and most effective way possible. All contact information for the associations can be found in the Aesthetics online directory.3
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