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   Feb 13

‘Cosmetic crisis’ measures expected

Tougher rules on dermal fillers, Botox injections and plastic surgery are set to be announced for England.

A review last year warned dermal fillers could cause lasting harm, but were covered by only the same level of regulation as ballpoint pens.

Ministers have warned of “cowboy practices” across an industry worth more than £2bn a year in the UK. The industry has been described as a “crisis waiting to happen”.

Surgeons support the move.

A review last year by the Department of Health in England said there was considerable concern that regulations had failed to keep pace – leaving patients vulnerable.

It recommended:

legislation to classify fillers as prescription-only
formal qualifications for anyone who injects fillers or Botox
register of everyone who performs surgical or non-surgical cosmetic interventions
ban on special financial offers for surgery
formal certificate of competence for cosmetic surgeons
a breast-implant register to monitor patients
patients’ procedures must be approved by a surgeon not a salesperson
compulsory insurance in case things go wrong
a pooled fund to help patients when companies go bust – similar to the travel industry

The government’s full response will come later on Thursday morning, and Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be able to choose whether to adopt the measures.

However, minister in England have already announced that every breast implant operation should be recorded on a new register.

A lack of records meant some surgeons were unable to tell their patients whether they were affected by the recent scare over sub-standard breast implants made by the French company Poly Implant Prothese (PIP).

Speaking ahead of the announcement, Rajiv Grover, a consultant plastic surgeon and president of the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS), told the BBC: “The important issue here is that fillers must be classified as prescription-only as it will kill three birds with one stone.

“It would regulate the sale and the quality of fillers, who is allowed to administer them and would ban them from being advertised.”

Former beauty clinic manager Sarah Payne recalls how a dermal filler treatment went badly wrong

Michael Saul, from TJL solicitors, represents the victims of botched cosmetic procedures, including one patient who went blind in one eye immediately after being injected with a dermal filler.

He said: “There is a problem in the private sector of cosmetic surgery, it’s a very lucrative business that has outgrown it’s regulatory framework.

“The big problem at the heart of it is the conflict between the commercial imperative of the clinic and ethical duty of the doctor – the balance is often very wrong.”

He called for a ban on surgery deals like mother-daughter offers as it was “completely inappropriate” for invasive surgery to be “sold like double glazing”.

Graeme Perks, president of the British Association of Plastic, Reconstructive and Aesthetic Surgeons, said: “The range of cosmetic non-surgical interventions that are available has increased exponentially over the last few years and the current regulatory framework is not protecting individuals, particularly vulnerable groups, from bad and often inappropriate practice.

“It is our view that all injectable materials need to be registered as medical devices, including both absorbable and permanent fillers, to ensure they are subject to the appropriate regulatory procedures.

“We look forward to seeing the forthcoming European legislation on this matter.”

Source: BBC

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