Superdrug has introduced new mental health checks for customers wishing to undergo Botox in stores after experts raised concerns over the service.
The high street pharmacy launched in-house Botox injections in London last August starting from £99 and has since been extending the service across in-store consultation rooms nationally.
Since the launch, customers wishing to undergo Botox have been required to have a consultation with a qualified nurse. But NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis wrote to Superdrug asking it to do more to protect people against body image pressures.
Prospective customers will now receive an extended hour-long consultation and nurses have been trained to specifically ask questions related to body image and body dysmorphia disorder.
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Since the launch of the service, Superdrug has said all customers must be over the age of 25 and has stressed that procedures will be carried our by a qualified aesthetic nurse.
But critics still raised concerns about the implications of providing procedures outside of a clinical setting.
At the time, Gerard Lambe, surgeon and spokesperson for the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons, said: “It is crucial members of the public do not treat having Botox and dermal fillers as casual beauty treatments, like brow threading or waxing.”
Superdrug met with NHS England to develop the new consultation system.
“Our consultations last an hour to allow our nurse practitioners time to undertake a full and extensive consultation,” the retailer said in a statement. “This enables us to ensure we understand our patients’ reasons for wanting aesthetic treatments. It also flags to our team any risks or concerns related to a patient’s mental health.
“Following a productive meeting with the NHS, and as part of the ongoing development of our Skin Renew service, we have added additional questioning specific to Body Dysmorphic Disorder, in line with the NHS recommendations.”
Professor Powis has welcomed the extensions to the service.
“Pressures on young people’s mental health are greater than they ever have been, with families and the health service too often left to pick up the pieces,” he said. “The lack of tough checks on cosmetic surgery means that the public is dependent on businesses taking voluntary steps to get their house in order, leaving people avoidably exposed to dangerous practices.”
He also called on other businesses to take action and raise the bar for industry standards higher.