Vital cosmetics amendment tabled to Health and Care Bill by public health organisations

22 September 2021, Ross Matthewman

A coalition of public health organisations has joined with Caroline Nokes MP to table a vital amendment to the Health and Care Bill, giving the Secretary of State the power to introduce a licensing regime for cosmetic treatments and makes it an offence for someone to practise without a licence.

CIEH has been working in coalition with the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), the Institute of Licensing (IoL), the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), the UK Public Health Network (UKPHN), the Faculty of Public Health (FPH), and Save Face, in calling for better regulation of all cosmetic treatments.

Cosmetic treatments can include procedures such as common beauty treatments offered on the high street and can cause serious harm to clients if not carried out correctly and in a safe environment. Critically, there is currently no consistent system of regulation in England and no nationally-set training and qualification requirements for all cosmetic treatments.

Research carried out last year by CIEH and the Institute of Licensing has found that the current legislation has a number of serious gaps and is therefore not able to guarantee people’s safety when they choose to undertake a cosmetic treatment on the high street or in their home. A survey of regulators found overwhelming support for the introduction of a licensing scheme, with 90% of the respondents agreeing that this could improve the regulatory system and protect the public from harm.

The Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP) has also found support for the design and implementation of a national licensing scheme in its Ten Point Plan for Safer Regulation in the Aesthetic Sector.

Members of the public also strongly support better regulation in this area. The Royal Society for Public Health found in their 2019 report Skins and Needles that inconsistent regulation across the UK has resulted in nearly one in five members of the public experiencing negative side effects following a special procedure. 90% of respondents also thought that practitioners who carry out special procedures should be legally required to hold an infection control qualification.

The amendment tabled by Caroline Nokes MP would give the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care the power to introduce a much-needed licensing scheme for cosmetic practitioners in England. The creation of such as scheme would ensure that all those who practise are competent and safe for members of the public.

The amendment is currently supported by a cross-party group of MPs:

  • Caroline Nokes MP
  • Sarah Champion MP
  • Anne Marie Morris MP
  • Kevan Jones MP
  • Carolyn Harris MP
  • Judith Cummings MP
  • Peter Dowd MP
  • Dr Lisa Cameron MP
  • Caroline Lucas MP

Caroline Nokes MP said:

“I am very happy to have worked with this group of public health organisations on tabling such an important amendment.

The Health and Care Bill is a perfect opportunity to make the cosmetics industry safer and to better protect consumers.

We look forward to working closely with the UK Government on efforts to improve public health across our country.”

Julie Barratt, CIEH President, said:

“This amendment is an important step towards making cosmetics treatments in England safer. With no national standards and very little oversight about who is performing what sort of cosmetics treatments, the threat to public health is very clear.

There are already legions of examples and cases of cosmetics treatments going horribly wrong.

Our coalition of public health organisations are delighted to be working with Caroline Noakes on putting this issue front and centre and in calling on the UK Government to use the opportunity of the Health and Care Bill to better protect people who use cosmetics treatments.”

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