Study reveals worrying scale of malpractice in medical aesthetics
By Neil Trainis
Eight out of 10 patients who received medical aesthetics from uninsured practitioners in the UK were ignored by them when they sought help for botched treatments, according to research that reveals a worrying scale of bad practice.
A study by Save Face, a government-approved register of clinics and practitioners such as doctors, dentists, nurses and prescribing pharmacists who provide aesthetic treatments, found 86 per cent of patients were “not appropriately consented” before having treatment.
Those patients were also not asked about their medical history, told about potential complications or asked to sign a consent form. The study was based on data from 2,824 aesthetic complaints last year.
Over nine in 10 patients did not have a face-to-face consultation with a licensed prescriber and 93 per cent did not know that serious complications might occur.
Superdrug, whose aesthetic clinics are registered with Save Face and the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, said “there’s a real gap in knowledge of consumers in what should be expected as part of an aesthetics procedure and what should be provided by practitioners as part of the process.”
“It’s worrying and disheartening to hear of such medical failures by those conducting aesthetic procedures. At Superdrug, we have thorough face-to-face consultations in place, where the procedure is conducted by one of our qualified independent prescribers who are Nursing and Midwifery Council-registered aesthetic nurses,” said Superdrug’s head of healthcare services Chloe Anderson.
“This should be standard for all aesthetic practices and we can’t stress enough the importance of choosing a registered healthcare professional for your treatment.”
Save Face director Ashton Collins said it has helped thousands of patients who have reported “complications and unwanted outcomes” to it and insisted its study will help it “identify key areas of risk and ascertain what leads so many people to fall into unsafe hands.”
That, Save Face said, will inform its “public awareness campaigns and conversations with legislators.”
“Much more needs to be done to protect the safety of consumers seeking these treatments and to prevent people being able to administer them without proper training and medical supervision,” Collins said.
“We urge all consumers considering a treatment to ensure that they only entrust their health and appearance to a reputable healthcare professional.”
Amish Patel, an independent prescriber who provides non-surgical aesthetics services such as dermal fillers and Botox from Hodgson Pharmacy in Kent, last year told Independent Community Pharmacist that a framework set up in 2018 by the General Pharmaceutical Council and JCCP to make sure “effective channels of communication and information-sharing are established and maintained between” the two bodies had failed to reduce the likelihood of harm to patients.
The GPhC said that although it did not collect or hold information about different services individual pharmacists provide and did not possess data on how many pharmacists are offering aesthetic services, its inspectors “would look at the different services a pharmacy would offer, including medical aesthetic services” during an inspection.
The regulator also insisted all pharmacists must meet its standards and “follow relevant guidance when providing any services, including aesthetic services.”