Private clinics to be regulated from next year

Maureen Watt

Regulation of private clinics carrying out dental and other healthcare services, including non-surgical cosmetic interventions will begin next year.

Legislation will be introduced so that Healthcare Improvement Scotland will start regulating private clinics from April, where services are provided by doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives and dental care professionals.

Currently, there is no regulation for the non-surgical cosmetic industry in the UK.

The Scottish government has taken the step following the recommendations of the Scottish Cosmetic Interventions Expert Group.

The group was set up by Scottish ministers in January 2014 to look at the best way to regulate the growing cosmetic industry.

The announcement comes as new research shows that only 23 per cent of Scots have a fair amount of confidence in non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

Sixteen per cent of Scottish adults who have not had a cosmetic procedure have considered doing so – 21 per cent for younger people.

Four per cent of the population have had a cosmetic procedure.

The YouGov research was commissioned by the Scottish government to build a picture of public experience and attitudes towards non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

As the industry is not regulated there are no official figures for the scale of the industry.

Non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as Botox, teeth whitening, laser eye surgery and dermal fillers have become more popular in recent years.

The report proposes a three phase new regulation regime, starting with independent clinics next year.

The second phase will look at certain high risk procedures, such as dermal fillers, which are being done in clinics provided by other health practitioners.

The final phase will seek to develop a system of regulation for other groups of practitioners.

Other recommendations from the expert group included:

• A social marketing campaign should be launched to better inform the public

• Professionals must keep up to date with latest training

• All providers must have sufficient insurance

• Transparent complaints systems must be in place

• Cosmetic practitioners should have a duty to report breaches of advertising guidelines to the Advertising Standards Authority

Maureen Watt, Minister for public health, said: “There are many reputable practitioners in Scotland, but unfortunately there are others who do not live up to those high standards.

“That can lead to complications after procedures, sometimes leaving the customer with lasting injuries.

“By introducing a sound system of regulation and inspection we hope to reduce those instances.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the General Medical Council, said: “Patients who undergo cosmetic procedures need more protection. We welcome the proposals of the Scottish government and believe they will promote improvements in patient safety and experience.

“We have recently launched a public consultation on the standards we will expect from every doctor in the UK offering cosmetic treatment.

“This new guidance will also help patients understand what, they in turn, should expect from their doctor.”

Chief executive and registrar of the General Dental Council, Evlynne Gilvarry, said: “The General Dental Council is very keen to have regulation of entirely private dental practices.

“We work with relevant bodies in the other three administrations and are keen to have similar arrangements in Scotland.

“The General Dental Council regulate the whole dental team so practices owned and run by dental care professionals would also be covered.”