Aesthetic practitioner Dr Michael Aicken has released a statement confirming his support for training beauty therapists and other non-medical professionals in aesthetic injectables but Aesthetics Clinical Advisory Board members have disagreed with his views.
Dr Aicken is the lead trainer for educational provider Visage Academy in London, Belfast, Dublin and Birmingham, which openly trains ‘anyone’ who is eligible to gain insurance, such as beauty therapists with a NVQ 3 in Beauty Therapy, dental hygienists and dental therapists, pharmacists, paramedics, dental nurses and ‘certain other individuals’.1
“Recently there has been a lot of media coverage, interest and speculation regarding the regulation of all those who practice non-surgical aesthetics. At Visage Academy, we train all individuals that meet the criteria for aesthetic insurance and ensure that they are trained and assessed in line with Health Education England guidelines,” said Dr Aicken in the statement, which was sent directly to Aesthetics and also published on the Visage Academy website.2
Dr Aicken continued, “Since 2014, we have also included comprehensive training in complications management; something I’m pleased to say that some other training academies have since included in their courses. Although our trainees come from a variety of professions and therefore have varying training requirements, we treat all of our students with the same level of respect and provide them with ongoing support. Our aim is to train all of our students to be safe practitioners who can recognise complications and manage them responsibly and effectively.”
The statement added that Dr Aicken and Visage Academy supports movements towards regulation, but believes that regulation should involve an inclusive register that seeks to support all safe practitioners, regardless of their entry route into the specialty.
He said, “Excluding one or more groups from such regulation can only undermine patient safety and cannot be justified with the logical fallacy that certain groups are ‘not well enough trained already to be trained now’. There are bad practitioners in aesthetics on both sides of the fence and we need to have a robust system to deal with these practitioners, medic or non-medic, swiftly and in a manner that enhances public confidence in our profession. I will continue to work with colleagues and welcome engagement from any other interested parties who share my viewpoint to make aesthetics a safer, more regulated environment and to eliminate bad practices regardless of occupational background.”
Aesthetics approached members of its Clinical Advisory Board who are also aesthetic trainers, to hear their opinions on this subject. They did not share Dr Aicken’s views and stated that they did not support training or non-medical professionals such as beauty therapists.
Aesthetics Clinical Advisory Board lead, and consultant plastic, reconstructive and aesthetic surgeon Mr Dalvi Humzah said, “My whole view about this topic is that just being able to train someone to do something is not the ‘be all and end all’ of patient care. What we are doing is performing, in effect, medical procedures, which is any form of injectables. Therefore, you do need to have a medical background and training to understand not just the technical aspects, but also all the medicinal aspects of potential interactions and be able to understand the medical conditions that can cause problems.”
As an example, Mr Humzah said, “Knowing which drugs interact with which medical conditions is very important. Certain medical conditions preclude people from having fillers and certain drugs will preclude you from having toxin. So, understanding that and how drugs interact is vital.”
Nurse prescriber Jackie Partridge added, “I believe that anyone injecting a patient should be medically qualified to prescribe the antidote or corrective/medically appropriate medication. I firmly support that injectable treatments should only be undertaken by qualified independent prescribers.”
Although Dr Aicken includes complication management training in his courses, when asked if non-medical professionals can be trained to be competent in administering dermal fillers safely, as well as dealing with complications, Partridge and Mr Humzah disagreed.
“Non-medical professionals do not have enough exposure to the whole medical arena. You do need to have full medical training to understand when something might be a cardiovascular problem, anaphylaxis, when it’s skin related, for example, and you can’t train someone to do that when you are doing one specific technique. A wider knowledge is needed,” stated Mr Humzah.
Partridge added, “Non-medics can’t be trained to the same clinical standard as medical professionals because they can’t prescribe the prescription-only medicine at the time it’s needed to correct a complication and the prescriber is likely to be in another geographical location. Delaying a response to a medical issue puts patients at risk.”
Mr Humzah agreed with Dr Aicken that there are absolutely good and bad practitioners, but said, “I believe we need to ensure that everyone is answerable to a professional regulatory body and that it’s not necessarily up to the insurance providers as to who can perform these treatments, as this is financially led.”
Partridge added, “I just wish our laws would protect the general public by making it illegal for anyone other than medically-qualified independent prescribers to be able to undertake these treatments. They are the only ones who can act and prescribe appropriately at the time of an incident. This lack of law has opened the arena up to anyone and everyone. The public has no idea what could go wrong.”
1. Visage Academy, Beauty Therapists – Expand Your Career with Visage Academy! <https://www.visage-aesthetics.com/beautytherapists/>
2. Dr Michael Aicken, ‘Regulation in the Aesthetics Industry – Dr Aicken’, Visage Academy, <https://www.visage-aesthetics.com/regulationinaesthetics/