Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions

In August 2012 the Department of Health launched a Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions, carried out by Professor Sir Bruce Keogh, NHS Medical Director.

A call for evidence was issued seeking views on the following:

  • the regulation and safety of products used in cosmetic interventions
  • how best to ensure that the people who carry out procedures have the necessary skills and qualifications
  • how to ensure that organisations have the systems in place to look after their patients both during their treatment and afterwards
  • how to ensure that people considering cosmetic surgery and procedures are given the information, advice and time for reflection to make an informed choice
  • what improvements are needed in dealing with complaints so they are listened to and acted upon

The CIEH made a detailed submission to the review, supported by extensive published literature and evidence from CIEH members working with regulatory controls. Our submission outlined our concerns over the regulation of the cosmetic interventions sector and emphasised the need for the inclusion of tattooing and body piercing in the Government’s Review.

The final report of the Keogh review was published in April 2013 and in February 2014 the Government published its response. The CIEH was disappointed to see that the review would not be widened to include tattooing and body piercing as we had recommended.

At a meeting of the Associate Parliamentary Group for Environmental Health on 4th March 2014 we made a presentation and circulated a briefing paper outlining professional and public concerns over the public health risks of tattooing and body piercing.

In the meantime Health Education England has begun a review of qualifications required for non-surgical cosmetic procedures. This was one of the outcomes of the Keogh review. The CIEH submitted evidence to the HEE Review in February 2014. In our submission we outlined the inadequacy of the existing legislation, the increasing availability of different types of cosmetic procedures and our concerns in relation to surgical cosmetic procedures being carried out by persons who are not medically trained. We called for the introduction of accredited training for tattooists and body piercers and pointed to the evidence-based standards contained in the CIEH Tattooing and Body Piercing Guidance Toolkit which we believe might be a suitable basis for such training.

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