LIFESTYLE

Non-Surgical Cosmetic Treatments Could Expose Patients To Permanent Damage, Suggests NHS Director

01/04/2013 10:17 BST

Patients who have non-surgical cosmetic treatments are being exposed to "unreasonable risks" and "permanent damage" because of a lack of appropriate training for those carrying them out, the man leading a review of plastic surgery standards has said.

NHS medical director Sir Bruce Keogh said his report on the state of the industry, ordered after the faulty PIP breast implants scandal, would make recommendations to make sure patients "were in safe hands" when it is released later this month.

It is believed this will mean a new law requiring everyone from beauty therapists to medically-trained doctors to have additional formal qualifications before carrying out treatments.

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Sir Bruce said he was worried that non-surgical procedures - which include dermal fillers, or laser treatment for wrinkles or hair reduction - make up 90% of the sector but are largely unregulated.

"All too often we hear of cases that shine a light on poor practices in the cosmetic surgery industry," he said.

"I am concerned that some practitioners who are giving non-surgical treatments may not have had any appropriate training whatsoever.

"This leaves people exposed to unreasonable risks, and possibly permanent damage.

"And our research has shown that the public expect procedures that are so widely available to be safe whereas they are largely unregulated.

"There is a clear need for better quality, recognised training for the people performing these operations.

"My review will make a number of recommendations for making sure people who choose to undergo these procedures

are in safe hands."

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The review into the cosmetic industry, requested by Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, is expected to be released later this month.

It was launched after around 40,000 women in the UK received implants manufactured by the now-closed French company Poly Implant Prostheses (PIP), mostly in private UK clinics.

The implants were filled with non-medical grade silicone intended for use in mattresses.

Conservative health minister Dr Dan Poulter, said: ""I am pleased that Sir Bruce Keogh's review has been looking at what training people are getting before they perform cosmetic operations - people under the care of cosmetic firms need to know that they are in medically skilled and safe hands.

"I await Sir Bruce Keogh's recommendations in full, but am clear that we must ensure that people undergoing cosmetic procedures are in the hands of someone with the right skills and training.

"The days of cosmetic cowboys must become a thing of the past."

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Several other measures have been suggested to the review team by the public, the industry itself and patient groups.

They include a ban on cut-price deals, and a clampdown on aggressive sales techniques and a two-stage consent process for potential patients to allow them time to reflect before making a final decision.

The ideas were released in an interim report in December but the Department of Health said at the time that the review is not bound to adopt them and can come up with its own recommendations.