08 July 2021

A call for greater powers for local authorities to ensure patient safety

We believe that local government will play a crucial role in bringing about long overdue improvements to the regulatory environment, in the interest of public safety.

At the APPG on Beauty, Aesthetics and Wellbeing’s recent concluding session on non-surgical cosmetic interventions, the role of local government in enforcing the Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act was highlighted, as well as ensuring cosmetic interventions are not available to under 18s unless carried out by registered medical practitioners.  

We are now calling for additional legislative change and further devolution of public health decision making to local authorities in order to achieve positive outcomes. 

The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act, which is set to come into force in Autumn 2021, will make it illegal for those under the age of 18 to be given cosmetic fillers or Botox unless it is administered by a registered medical practitioner.  

While the passage of this bill signifies a major step forward in the legislative environment, no new enforcement mechanisms for local authorities have been introduced as part of the legislation, and local authorities will be entitled to use the powers already accorded to them under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, in line with age restrictions on tattoos, teeth whitening and sunbeds.  

Tony Veverka, CEO of Transform Hospital Group, said: “I believe the Act is a positive step in the right direction, but the way in which it is enforced will be crucial to its success. This is a good opportunity for local authorities to demonstrate the value of the devolution of public health responsibilities, but further legislation is required to ensure patient safety measures are fit for purpose across the sector. 

“I would strongly urge policy makers to make amendments to the Local Government Act 2003, so that it becomes a criminal offence for premises offering non-surgical cosmetic interventions to trade without local authority licencing, to carry out non-surgical cosmetic interventions outside of a licenced premises, and to introduce a minimum requirement for all individuals conducting these interventions to hold a licence to perform procedures.  

“These steps would significantly improve the patient safety environment in the non-surgical cosmetic interventions sector and increase the responsibilities of local authorities across the country.”