Learning lessons from current regulatory models from the UK health care sector to inform future regulation of cosmetic procedures

We have noted earlier that regulation of cosmetic procedures in the UK is currently inadequate in preventing risk to consumers or protecting their autonomy. It is our aim in this book to endeavour to find a regulatory solution to these shortcomings. However, any new regulation on cosmetic procedures devised for the UK has to take account of the context in which it is elaborated in relation to the form of regulation that would be most effective and in relation to the health care policy sector in the UK more generally. In Section 2, in relation to the general context of regulation in the UK, we noted that commentators have observed that the regulatory model has been characterised by a form of self-regulation and by government taking a back seat, largely allowing agencies to regulate in its place. In Section 3 of this chapter we now consider existing statutory regulatory models in healthcare and the lessons that can be learnt for future effective regulation of cosmetic procedures.

Since the late twentieth century, it is evident that there has been an increasing number of regulatory bodies in existence in the health care sector in the UK, both statutory and non-statutory. Some of these are overarching bodies operational across the NHS such as the Care Quality Commission, which is concerned with issues of quality and safety in health care in both the private and public sectors.[1] The influence of such a body is thus dependent upon the willingness of both government and its projected audience, such as cosmetic practitioners, to listen.

In the UK there are a number of health professional organisations with members working in the area of cosmetic procedures who operate according to varying forms of self-regulation. There is accordingly a difference between self-regulation whereby a profession is left to set up its own organisations and regulate itself, such as the British Association of Aesthetic and Plastic Surgeons (BAAPS) and more recently the Joint Council on Cosmetic Procedures (JCCP) and statutory professional regulation that can provide a regulatory framework and can allow for some autonomy, such as the statutory regulator of doctors and surgeons in the UK, the General Medical Council (GMC).

Here we consider four statutory agencies set up by the UK government in relation to the regulation of health care issues and draw lessons from their operation which can inform the development of any new proposed agency overseeing the provision of cosmetic procedures: the Care Quality Commission (CQC); the Professional Standards Authority (PSA); the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) and the Human Tissue Authority (HTA). Two of these bodies, the CQC and the PSA, currently play a part in the regulation of providers and premises in relation to the performance of some cosmetic procedures. The CQC is noteworthy here for having been given an important role across health and social care providers including auditing the behaviour of non-NHS independent health care providers, such as those providing cosmetic surgery. The PSA is also of importance in that it is a regulatory body set up to monitor the behaviour of health care professional bodies that are largely self-regulating, such as doctors and dentists and it is an example of an umbrella body. The HFEA and HTA undertake day to day regulation of areas that have given rise to particular ethical controversies and a range of fast-moving issues, and their membership structure and licensing system could serve as a model for us here. We consider then those features of these agencies that could be used effectively in the regulation of cosmetic procedures.

  • [1] accessed 1 July 2019 2 L. Pickett, Professional Regulation in Health and Social Care, Briefing Paper Number CBPS094 (House of Commons Library, 29 September 2017) 3 BAAPS.org.uk and see discussion of the work on the JCCP in Chapter 5 below at page 11S
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >