Medical Director at NHS England warns firms over duty of care

  • May 3, 2019
  • England’s top doctor warns that the number of cosmetic practitioners registered and undertaking training to ensure the suitability of customers for cosmetic anti-ageing treatment is too low.

    Prof Stephen Powis, Medical Director at NHS England, has argued that providers should have training to protect vulnerable clients with body image or mental health issues from having “quick fixes”.

    He says too many practitioners are “operating as a law unto themselves” and therefore wants professionals offering procedures like fillers and injections to register with the new Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP).

    According to NHS England, only 100 out of 1000 providers are registered.

    Effects of cosmetic procedures on mental health

    A charity has said that the mental health of young people undergoing procedures like Botox can be damagingly affected.

    Prof Powis said: “We know that appearance is one of the things that matters most to young people, and the bombardment of idealised images and availability of quick-fix procedures is helping fuel a mental health and anxiety epidemic.”

    While advising clients to vet firms thoroughly before undergoing cosmetic procedures, such as Botox, laser, fillers, skin peels and hair restoration surgery, he calls for the contribution of society to “show a duty of care and take action to prevent avoidable harm”.

    In registering with JCCP, providers agree to receive training in the following areas:

    • The psychology of appearance;
    • Recognising the signs and symptoms of vulnerability and mental ill health;
    • Telling customers where to get help if they show signs of being vulnerable.

    Dysmorphic disorder

    Around 1 in 50 people are affected by body dysmorphic disorder – a mental health disorder that can cause people to experience extreme distress over their appearance, making them more likely to seek out quick-fix procedures, that in turn have no affect on the underlying psychological condition.

    Kitty Wallace, from the Body Dysmorphic Disorder Foundation, said: “Cosmetic procedures like Botox are now widely available on the high street, are putting people at risk and can have a damaging effect on the mental health of young people.

    “It’s great to see the NHS and professionals leading the sea change but we now need all parts of society to change their attitudes and take action to protect vulnerable individuals.”

    Charlotte Measures, Partner at Medical Accident Group, said: “People, especially young people, who are looking at having a cosmetic procedure done should make sure they take time to properly do their research, only opting for those practices that are registered with the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners, which demonstrates a level of accreditation and medical training.

    “Our solicitors have experience in handling cosmetic surgery claims. However, trying to make a claim against a non-registered individual or clinic, when treatment has gone wrong or counselling has been inadequate, may be considerably difficult when identifying whether there is likely to be insurance in place and whether there has been any breach of duty of care.”

    If you or a family member have suffered from poor treatment, Medical Accident Group can help. We have a team of dedicated clinical negligence solicitors who will guide you through the process of making a claim. Call the team now on 0800 050 1668 or email at [email protected]

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