Medical Aesthetics Industry: Regulation

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:00 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Alberto Costa Alberto Costa Conservative, South Leicestershire 4:00 pm, 14th May 2019

My hon. Friend, in his time as the relevant Minister in this area, contributed enormously to this field, and I pay tribute to the work he has done in pushing for regulation of the industry.

I am not sure how to answer my hon. Friend’s point, because regulation takes many different forms. I think we would all argue that we want a healthy, thriving, competitive beauty industry. We do not want to strangle it or place an unnecessary obstacle before the business. We seek to achieve a safe beauty industry, where our constituents can approach any beautician of their choice, safe in the knowledge that these individuals have been properly trained and are qualified and regulated. I am certainly up for having the debate on whether they should be regulated by the General Medical Council, the overarching regulator of healthcare professionals or some other regulatory body, but regulation is the key.

I would also like to highlight the distinct difference between Botox and dermal fillers. Botox is a prescription-only medicine that can be prescribed only by a regulated healthcare professional, such as somebody regulated by the GMC. However, there is a loophole. At present, the prescriber is able to delegate the administration of the injections to another person, which unfortunately creates a way for people who are perhaps not regulated at all to administer the product. On the point my hon. Friend made a moment ago, if we were to have a regulatory body that somehow was able to delegate to others, we would have to ensure that those to whom the administration of the procedure was delegated were suitably trained to administer the procedures.

It is evident that these procedures are becoming more popular, and social media has an influence: so many young people are having procedures such as dermal fillers and Botox that that is almost normalising them. Given that the procedures are so widely seen on social media, they are being viewed by young people as equivalent to, for example, having one’s hair cut, as they are just as accessible. I have heard that people will say, “I’m just going out to have my lips done,” just as we might say, “I’m just popping out to have my hair done.” The normalisation of a procedure that can result in trauma should be looked at carefully.