Medical Aesthetics Industry: Regulation

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:20 pm on 14th May 2019.

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Photo of Jackie Doyle-Price Jackie Doyle-Price The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 4:20 pm, 14th May 2019

The hon. Lady is right, and I am grateful for the spirit in which she makes her comments. Anyone who establishes themselves in business as a beautician wants to deliver a good service, has pride in what they do and would not want to be accused of doing anything unsafe.

My first focus of activity is those organisations that train people in these procedures, because I can see a situation in which a beautician will have paid thousands of pounds to go on a course and will then think that they are qualified, but they might not be. That is where we need to bring the focus of regulation in the first instance, so that when somebody proudly displays their certificates, consumers can have some guarantee that they are legitimate. I welcome the opportunity to air these issues with the all-party parliamentary group as we move this system of regulation forward.

Sadly, we only have 30 minutes for this debate, so I doubt whether I will be able to get through as much as I would wish, but I will do my best. I am grateful for the interest of all Members here. We will continue this discussion. It is worth saying that Botox treatments and dermal fillers are increasing and, along with laser hair removal, now represent nine out of 10 non-surgical treatments performed in the UK. This is a major area of risk.

Hon. Members have referenced the campaign that we launched today. Clearly, consumers will be the best defenders of their own interest, but we must make sure that they have access to appropriate information with which to do so; we need to do much more to inform people about the risk. Just as in my hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire’s example of his constituent, I am quite sure that many people who have had fillers—who have gone to have their lips done, like they do—would have no idea that there is a risk of their artery being injected with poison. We need to make sure that consumers are much more aware of that, which is why we are doing so much more in the next six weeks to try to raise public awareness.

We will focus on targeting our messages to women aged 18 to 34, on whom the majority of the treatments are undertaken. I am pleased that we are working with Bauer Media, which publishes Grazia, Closer and Heat, which I hope will be appropriate vehicles to reach that audience. We will make sure that the NHS information is kept up to date and remains a meaningful resource for consumers.