The Government has announced plans to introduce a licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetic procedures including botulinum toxin (Botox) and fillers.

In a push to improve patient safety and crack down on botched procedures, the proposed licensing scheme will introduce standards that anyone carrying out non-surgical cosmetic procedures will have to meet, as well as hygiene and safety standards for premises.

This follows on from a recently passed law that makes it illegal to administer treatments such as Botox and fillers to Under 18s.

The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, with many others, has been pushing for stronger regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures for several years.

In our major report in 2017 we highlighted concerns about the widespread availability of procedures like dermal fillers and the lack of controls on who can provide them. We also called on the Government to fully implement recommendations made by the Keogh report in 2013 so the public can be assured that those providing cosmetic procedures, the places where they are carried out, and the products used are all properly regulated.

Danielle Hamm, Director of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics, said:

“We are delighted to see the Government take another step towards promoting ethical practice within the cosmetic procedures industry through the introduction of a licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetic treatments. We have been calling for greater measures of this kind for some time now, as the current situation, where there is nothing to stop completely unqualified people from providing risky procedures like dermal fillers, is unethical in our view.

A national licensing scheme is a great step towards improving the safety of the procedures and reducing the risks to the people who choose to have them, and we look forward to seeing this plan being implemented. However, we urge the Government to consider whether they could go even further to ensure safety by strengthening regulation of the products themselves - for example, by making all dermal fillers ‘prescription-only’.”