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Plans to ban unlicensed Botox providers in England

Beauty practitioners offering Botox-style injections or dermal fillers could be required to have a licence, as part of government plans to protect patients in England.

It is hoped this will ensure consistent standards in an industry previously called the "Wild West" by MPs.

Industry bodies say the consultation on new rules is welcome and want changes implemented quickly.

Currently, anyone can offer the treatments, with few restrictions.

'Physically scarred'

Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid says he is committed to making it an offence for someone to operate without a licence.

"While most of those in the aesthetics industry follow good practice when it comes to patient safety, far too many people have been left emotionally and physically scarred after botched cosmetic procedures," he says.

Complications can include infections, lumps, bruising and even blindness.

An amendment to the Health and Care Bill has been tabled on Tuesday.

If successful, the government would have the power to introduce a licensing regime for botulinum-toxin injections - often known as Botox - or fillers.

However, the full details will not be confirmed until after a public consultation, which some fear could take months or even years.

Social media

Ashton Collins, from Save Face, says: "These unlicensed operators are like ghosts.

"They're on social media, they're mobile, they come to people's houses.

"Then, when somebody complains, they disappear and have no fixed address.

"We urgently need a licensing scheme which is fit for purpose."

Hannah Russell, chief executive of Glowday, a website that connects patients with verified, medical aesthetic practitioners, is calling for the licensing criteria to go beyond technical skills.

"Prior experience of the injector", "the ability to properly consent" and "skills to resolve complications" should all be considered, she says.

Driven demand

The government plans also include introducing hygiene and safety standards for premises.

BBC News has been told about many cases of treatments in people's homes, sometimes near children or pets, which can increase the risk of infection.

The spread of images on social media has driven demand for these procedures, which can plump or smooth the skin, with sites also providing a platform to sell them.

In October, it became illegal to give Botox-style injections or fillers for cosmetic reasons to under-18s in England.

And from May, cosmetic-surgery adverts that target them will be banned.

Regulated qualification

The All Party Parliamentary Group on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing has welcomed the Department of Health's plans but wants all of the recommendations it made last summer to be implemented.

This includes requiring practitioners to hold a regulated qualification at a national minimum standard.

The Welsh government says the proposed licensing scheme for non-surgical cosmetic procedures would "in effect bring England into line with the powers we already have" under the Public Health (Wales) Act 2017 - though Brexit and the pandemic has delayed implementation.

Proposals are due to be set out in the "near future" in Scotland, while Northern Ireland has no plans for such measures.

Source: Anna Collinson, Health correspondent, BBC News


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