Government response to the Keogh report on cosmetic interventions

01 Mar 2014

With the long-awaited government response to the Keogh report published this month, we asked members of our editorial board to share their reactions

Mr Adrian Richards

Plastic and cosmetic surgeon

“The government response to Keogh lacked firmness regarding regulations
and who can do what. As an industry I think we were hoping that dermal fillers would be made prescription-only medicines. What the response said was that individuals need to be trained before administering fillers – however it didn’t give details on what kind of training, or who would be able to administer them. This was disappointing. In the UK there are many different competing bodies within this industry that naturally have different interests, so it’s understandable that it’s difficult for the government to get consensus. Hopefully this response can be marked as progress, in terms of assessing regulation and in the execution of an implant registry, but it seems that real change will take a long time.”

Dr Nick Lowe

Consultant dermatologist and president of the BCDG

“I hope the details of the response today will be influential as far as this is feasible. I am currently involved in proposing ideas to Health Education England (HEE), the body which has been chosen by the government to work with stakeholders to approve training for practitioners. I believe that an appropriate body such as the British Association of Dermatologists working with the HEE and with royal colleges would be ideally placed to organise training programmes for practitioners. Today’s response was very much an overview of what’s been discussed previously. Now it’s down to individual bodies to put this into effect. It’s a move in the right direction, but I would have liked it to have regulatory teeth.”

Sharon Bennett

Vice chair of the BACN

“I welcome any review leading to tighter regulation in the aesthetic industry. Following the government report there may be concern that it does not go far enough to regulate an industry in need. Loopholes are in need of tightening surrounding cosmetic injectables. The HEE will require support and guidance from us all at this time and I am confident that their committee, made up of industry experts including the BACN, will produce a framework of education and training with defined minimum standards to ensure patient safety is met. Support from the professional bodies will make a real difference to the practitioners who work in this area.”

Dr Sarah Tonks

Aesthetic doctor

“The recommendations specifically around non-surgical providers are shockingly lax – what on earth is an appropriately trained person? Unless there are prescriptive guidelines set out around who can inject what and where then I don’t see how this can be in the patient’s best interests. I disagree with the statement that we do not need our own register, because registration and training as a unified body for all non-surgical providers doctors, dentists and nurses is essential to ensure that we are all moving together, maintaining a high standard of practice across the board. Each practitioner must practice according to their abilities but with knowledge of all the available treatment options. At the moment we are all separate, practicing alone and often with no professional support. It’s time to take aesthetic medicine into the medical professional arena and make it a serious specialty with our own governing body.”

Amanda Cameron

Sales and marketing professional

“Whilst the government has gone some way to protect consumers, I feel they have missed a great opportunity to fully regulate the industry. They appear to be encouraging double standards with the qualified providers being held to account, whilst unqualified individuals are still free to practice with no accountability. I read the report several times in the hope of finding some concrete actions but they are sadly lacking. I am disappointed but not surprised, as reports on our industry have been produced before with recommendations developed only to be ignored. It appears this one is no exception and patient safety does not feature on the government’s list of priorities.”

Dr Mike Comins

President and fellow of BCAM

“I was disappointed by the fact that there wasn’t any immediate action on making dermal fillers a prescription-only device. I think that this was a missed opportunity and would have changed the whole industry. I welcome most of the other points raised, particularly the need for standardisation and training in non-surgical aesthetics. I know that BCAM are working with Heath Education England regarding this. Whilst I support the idea that surgeons need to be on the specialist register to perform cosmetic surgery, I do feel that minor surgical procedures such as fat reduction treatments and hair transplants, which are performed under local anaesthetic and which fall under the definition of aesthetic medicine, need to be addressed. There’s still some confusion around this area and I’m hoping BCAM can work with the GMC to resolve this.” 

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