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20/20health will soon be launching a consumer and public consultation into the lack of regulation into non-surgical aesthetics in the UK, an industry projected to be worth over £3bn per year by the end of 2022.

England and Wales are currently the only countries in the world in which non-surgical aesthetics are currently non-regulated.

The government announced in February 2022 an amendment to the Health and Care Bill, which will incorporate many of the ten-point plan set out by the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, and 20/20health (along with many others) welcomes this development.

The government amendment covers statutory, regulatory and practise reform, but there are concerns over the implementation and policing of the measures. The amendment may also fail to tackle a serious problem in the UK aesthetics industry; that non-surgical aesthetic treatment is incredibly expensive and many non-qualified unscrupulous practitioners exist, promising cheaper treatment to those unable to pay the fees charged by reputable practitioners often with little regard for patient wellbeing.

Patients often undergo subsequent remedial procedures in order to rectify the physical damage caused by non-qualified practitioners. This can lead to years of mental trauma, placing yet more stress on the health service. One unqualified practitioner was recently sentenced to four years imprisonment for GBH.

20/20health’s intention is to carry on this excellent work already started by the JCCP. Over the coming months, 20/20health will bring relevant stakeholders together, including leading industry professionals, politicians, and representative and regulatory bodies. It shall help formulate future policy and safeguarding measures in this regulatory blackhole.

20/20health consultant, Michael Ilsemann, said: ‘aesthetic treatments are one of the most expanding health sectors in the UK, with millions of pounds spent on surgical and non-surgical treatments. Alarmingly, the aesthetics industry in England and Wales is the least regulated aesthetics market in the world.

‘Thousands of people are putting themselves at risk every year through instructing underqualified practitioners, some of whom may use fake or cheaply produced products. Whilst the UK government has now introduced legislation, there is the possibility that the legislation does not go far enough. 20/20 will therefore work with major industry stakeholders and cross-party groups to help formulate the future of regulation within the aesthetics industry.

‘Despite the much-welcomed amendment, the main problem of unscrupulous practitioners offering cheap and harmful products will remain. Not only does this lead to much pain and suffering for the patient, but it can also place greater demand on the health service as remedial treatment is often required. There is currently no need for qualification or training in managing complications either.

‘Action is required now to deal with this growing problem.

‘20/20 will also be conducting aesthetic client research – highlighting factors they would like addressed to help promote their safety when engaging in aesthetic treatments.’

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