Industry observer Pete Richardson digs into the changes coming in aesthetics and how Cosmetic Couture is at the forefront of the new focus on education.
Almost 27 years ago Labour leader Tony Blair said his three priorities for government were simple - education, education and education.
Today that’s the priority for the aesthetics industry as we hurtle inexorably towards new regulations, new higher standards of training and new laws everyone will need to follow.
Cosmetic Couture has a long and proud history of helping to educate thousands of students in aesthetics in a wide range of procedures, from anti-wrinkle treatments to dermal fillers, creating and trademarking lots of procedures and techniques that have gone on to become industry standards.
Now Cosmetic outré has created a new division – Cosmetic Couture Education Limited – with a focus on raising standards and delivering the highest possible levels of education as the changes in the law get every closer.
Cosmetic Couture has been closely following the political and legal landscape developing within aesthetics over a number of years and understands more than most the need for the highest levels of educational standards to keep up to speed with the forthcoming legal changes.
In recent years the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practice (JCCP) was established to oversee voluntary regulation with the Cosmetic Standards Practice Authority (CPSA) to set evidence-based practice standards.
And the JCCP has taken a pro-active role in campaigning for change in the industry.
That change was confirmed in 2022 with The Health and Care Act introducing a new licensing system for all practitioners who provide a range of non-surgical cosmetic procedures such as the injection of toxins and fillers.
It will prohibit any individual in England from carrying out specified cosmetic procedures unless they have a personal licence. It also prohibits any person from using or permitting the use of premises in England “for the carrying out of specified cosmetic procedures” unless they have a premises licence.
This is a radical change as the requirements for a personal licence will mean all practitioners, medic and non-medic alike, will be required to achieve an as yet to be defined educational standard.
Many in the industry are calling for a qualification required to be at level 7 - equivalent to a post graduate qualification – while others are campaigning for a lesser qualification level to be the minimum needed.
It is important to note that this new legislation will be complex to create and will take some time as it is primary legislation, and any breaches will mean you are breaking the law and can be subject to significant punishment.
The Government is committed to begin a consultation period on which treatments will be covered by the legislation and what levels of qualification should be required, in just a few weeks-time, in July 2023.
The consultation is likely to last around six months after which the Government will make a decision – with implementation to follow after that.
We already know quite a lot about what is going to happen as the Government has set out the rough framework of the new law.
Section 180 sets the goal posts for the legislation and will cover procedures for cosmetic purposes that are non-surgical and non-dental.
But the Government has not yet defined what “cosmetic purposes” means.
However, we do know the legislation will cover the five areas where everyone will need new qualifications and licenses. These are where the procedure involve:
· The application of a substance thatis capable of penetrating into or through the epidermis
· The injection of a substance
· The placing of threads under theskin
· The insertion of needles into theskin
· The application of light, electricity, cold or heat
The consultation process will need to cover lots of definitions e.g. mobile working and also the timeframes for monitoring of licences and qualification updates and upgrades or refreshers.
But it will be created by civil servants and other lawmakers who are not involved in the industry and are likely to know next to nothing about the industry - they will effectively be informed by the industry through the consultation process – and that's the responsibility of everyone who wants to have a voice to make it heard during the consultation.
And we know more. That the new premises licence is likely to be similar to CQC requirements and if you already have a CQC licence that may well exempt you from needing the new licence.
You will probably also need things like a fire safety licence, and to prove you are fit and proper person - so will probably need to undergo police checks.
But what standard of education and certification or qualification will you need to achieve? On this it is important to note that doctors train to level 6 in the UK and the JCCP and other medical bodies are pushing for all this legislation to require level 7 qualifications across the board – even for procedures like micro-needling.
Do you think that is right?
The JCCP is also pushing for threads to be considered a surgical procedure and not cosmetic and therefore only those with surgical qualifications would be able to carry out thread procedures. Again, do you agree?
If not, you should make your voice heard during the consultation process through the official channels the Government will make available to you.
Several academies already offer nationally recognised OFQUAL regulated qualifications in aesthetics at level 4, level 5 and level 7 including awarding bodies like Qualifi and VTCT.
Some are open to non-medics while others are restricted to medics only.
All these are likely to be very close to whatever the Government decides to introduce as the new requirements in order to gain a personal licence to practice. That’s because they have been created to nationally recognised standards or NOS –National Occupational Standards.
Cosmetic Couture are one of only a very small percentage of current aesthetic training academies approved to offer these qualifications because the approval process is extremely rigorous and the requirements for staff qualifications and experience are set very high.
Indeed, Cosmetic Couture’s level 3 Beauty Principles in Aesthetics, a course completed 100% online, has very recently been endorsed by Qualifi and is accepted as an entry requirement onto the Level 4 courses.
The coming months will be extremely important in the aesthetics industry as everyone learns more about the Government plans for the personal licence, levels of qualifications required and the new premises licence that will also be required.
All the while the focus should absolutely be on education, education and education –just as it was for Tony Blair all those years ago – and it is for the newly created Cosmetic Couture Education Limited – aiming to set the highest of standards in the soon to be regulated aesthetic industry.
Want to know more? Speak to the team at Cosmetic Couture on 0161 848 7146.