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Beware cheap fillers and botox warns medical law solicitor

While the aesthetics industry is becoming more popular, a lack of regulation may cause problems for its customers. Angela Curran of Burnetts Solicitors has a word of warning.

With the economic downturn more people seem to be turning to treatments like Botox and fillers to keep the wrinkles at bay rather than opting for major surgery

Botox and fillers were the most popular procedures in the UK in 2010 and their usage increased by 30 per cent from the previous year. Traditional surgical practice in the UK is
performed by qualified surgeons and is regulated by the General Medical Council (GMC). Practicing cosmetic surgeons should be enrolled on the GMC Specialist Register and their standards are monitored. The GMC has the power to remove asurgeon from the register if they fail to maintain
standards.

At present, within the ‘aesthetics’ industry there is no regulation. This means that there is no mandatory monitoring or quality control of therapists who administer Botox and fillers. Botox is not licensed in this country for cosmetic use. Fillers are tested as if they were medical devices and so their  regulation is based on the standard of their production rather than whether or not they work.

Instead of mandatory regulation in the aesthetics industry, a voluntary register run by the private sector has been set up. The Independent Healthcare Advisory Service was set up to administer this voluntary register. Those who choose to register and meet the standard required receive a quality assurance mark. The guidance indicates that those applying must have the correct training, with only doctors, dentist and registered nurses being eligible. However, as the register is voluntary, it does not prevent the administration of Botox and fillers by the untrained and unqualified.

The voluntary nature of the register means that whilst it is relatively easy to check that your surgeon is appropriately qualified and registered with the GMC before you have surgery it is not the case for those operating outside of the medical field.

What if you opt for a non surgical procedure and it goes wrong? If the procedure is performed by a medically qualified person they will be on the GMC Register. They will carry professional insurance if you have to sue. If you are treated by a therapist who isn’t voluntarily registered you need to find out why and if they have insurance cover should you need to take legal action.

Before undergoing these procedures at the hand of any practitioner you need to be clear about who pays for additional treatment needed if you require xtended after care and remedial procedures.

Think! A costs saving exercise may prove costly if you have treatment outside of a regulated environment without checking expertise, insurance and aftercare costs.

About the author

Angela Curran profile photo

Angela Curran

Angela Curran is Head of Medical Law and a Partner in Burnetts’ clinical negligence team.

Published: Monday 13th June 2011
Categorised: Legal Services in Newcastle, Medical Law, Personal Injury

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