First guidance released on returning to aesthetic practice

13 May 2020

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) has published guidance on returning to work in aesthetic clinics.

According to the JCCP, Preparing Your Place of Work: COVID-19 & Return to Practice should be used by competent cosmetic practitioners to ensure that they comply with patient safety and public protection standards required by Government agencies and by UK statutory professional and voluntary registers.

The guidance includes recommendations for triage, managing reception areas, personal protective equipment (PPE), cleaning and waste management and auditing. It also provides advice on consenting, skin preparation and time management, amongst other important factors. It was created by the JCCP, with the support of the sk:n clinic chain, and core principles have been agreed by the Cosmetic Practice Standards Authority.

While the document does not stipulate a return to practice date, in a discussion facilitated by Cosmetic Courses on YouTube today, chair of the JCCP Professor David Sines suggested that it would be prudent to work towards reopening on July 4.

He emphasised that while Government guidance does not make it entirely clear what category aesthetic clinics fall into, it would be sensible to class clinics as ‘personal care businesses’, exemplified as hairdressers and beauty salons, which based on the Government’s phased plan, could be permitted to reopen from July 4.

Professor Sines noted that some practitioners have questioned whether their clinics would fall into the ‘non-essential retail’ category if they were only opening for limited contact treatment and therefore be allowed to open from June 1, or ‘medical and health services’, open from today.

He highlighted that some are treating the retail guidance as a ‘free for all to return to practice’ while others are hoping they will be covered as a medical or health service. Professor Sines warned, “Whether we like it not, the Care Quality Commission will not recognise elective treatment such as toxin or filler injections as ‘medical’ treatments, so I advise you to be cautious with your interpretation of the guidance.” He adds that clinics offering COVID-19 testing services should also not be performing cosmetic treatments at this time.

In the YouTube discussion with consultant plastic surgeon and Aesthetics Clinical Advisory Board member Mr Adrian Richards and nurse prescriber Alison Telfer, Professor Sines took questions from practitioners and other viewers.

He emphasised that clinics should enforce 14 days of isolation prior to attending an appointment for any patients who have travelled internationally. He advised that thorough handwashing and decontamination of pens/clipboards etc is implemented where paperless practice is not possible. Professor Sines also said to allow 30 minutes between appointments with windows open if possible, and that mobile working is not supported by the JCCP.

Other advice included approaching dental suppliers for reliable PPE, retraining yourself and staff on how to appropriately use PPE, and to socially isolate for four weeks in advance of reopening on July 4. If possible, it has also been recommended to be tested for COVID-19 and make a public statement to patients to reassure them you are not contagious.

While a number of viewers had concerns that appropriate health and safety measures would not be implemented by less scrupulous practitioners, Professor Sines reminded them that there are many who do uphold public safety and that has to be at the fore. He said, “There will be people trying to undercut at every corner, so we must be vigilant and report to regulatory bodies where possible.”

Reflecting positively, Telfer added, “This is going to medicalise even more of what we’re doing – in the long run, we will be delivering better, safer practice to patients.”

To read the guidance in full, click here.

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