UK Government to launch patient safety campaign

25 Apr 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care will launch a media awareness campaign on May 13 to highlight the potential dangers and safety issues around surgical and non-surgical aesthetic treatments in the UK.

The announcement follows two recent deaths of UK women who underwent Brazilian Butt Lift procedures abroad, and the rise of young patients seeking treatments.

In a survey conducted by pharmaceutical company Allergan, 98% of 21 to 35-year-olds said they would consider professional treatment at some point in their lives.

Another recent survey of 1,000 UK women aged between 18 and 30, carried out by Deltapoll and commissioned by the BBC, suggests that 48% believe that having a cosmetic procedure is a lot like having a haircut.  

Aesthetic practitioner Dr Sophie Shotter said of the campaign, “I welcome any push from the government to improve safety for members of the public who are undergoing aesthetic medical treatments. It is so easy for consumers to be confused by practitioners and their qualifications. Any drive to educate the public about the potential risks of these treatments and to understand the need for medical oversight is, in my eyes, a good thing. I hope it leads to a better-informed public who know what questions to ask so that they can truly understand whether they are in safe hands.”

Further details about the campaign are yet to be disclosed, but Professor David Sines, chair of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Procedures (JCCP), stated, “The JCCP is working closely with the DHSC in support of their forthcoming media awareness campaign and has inaugurated a new Communications and Marketing Committee to engage with members of the public with a wide range of stakeholders to create a cadre of people who can raise the profile of the key safety issues that affect the sector. The focus should not only be on practitioner services but also on the use of genuine safe products. The JCCP will also seek to bring key suppliers together to collaborate in the interests of public protection/safety; to encourage commercial providers and industry suppliers to work collaboratively with the JCCP to support the DHSC’s forthcoming public safety campaign’.”

Although most within the aesthetic industry agree that the campaign is a good step in furthering patient safety, it’s also acknowledged that the UK aesthetic market is still unregulated.

Aesthetic nurse prescriber Claudia McGloin said, “Personally, I think we need regulations rather than another campaign. We need to cut the cosmetic cowboys at the source so, until we stop medics from prescribing, supplying and training lay groups and we have strict regulations in place, people will still choose cheap treatments with cheap fillers. That said it’s always good to highlight the dangers to the public and to keep hammering on about patient safety; but until it’s law, I can’t see this campaigning changing anything.”     

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