The Royal Pharmaceutical Society (RPS) has backed government plans to impose regulations on high-risk non-surgical cosmetic procedures to ensure they can only be undertaken by qualified and regulated healthcare professionals.

Responding to a government consultation on how to make non-surgical cosmetic procedures – such as botox and fillers – safer for the public in England, the RPS said it ‘strongly agreed’ with the proposal to regulate.

However, it also observed that aesthetics is an area not normally covered in undergraduate training, and therefore recommended that all healthcare professionals who undertake high-risk procedures are suitably trained and qualified.

The RPS also strongly agreed with a proposal to amend the Care Quality Commission’s (CQC’s) regulations to bring the restricted high-risk procedures into the CQC’s scope of registration.

‘This would bring these high-risk procedures in line with other procedures that are undertaken by regulated healthcare professionals,’ the RPS said.

However, the society added that more clarity was needed regarding how the CQC would work with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) in this area.

‘We understand that GPhC would regulate the individual pharmacists and CQC would regulate the premises and practice but there is likely to be some overlap and this needs to be taken into consideration,’ the response published last month said.

The RPS is also in agreement over plans to employ a three-tier system using green, amber and red to categorise procedures depending on the risks, including level of complexity and degree of invasiveness, and potential complications.

However, the society disagreed with suggestions for how procedures should fit within these categories.

For example, according to proposals, microneedling would be within the green category, but the RPS observed that it is an invasive procedure that can lead to soft tissue damage if undertaken incorrectly, so should be moved to amber or red.

The society also suggested including botulinum toxin and dermal fillers, vitamin and mineral injections, platelet rich plasma and weight loss injections in the red category.

While agreeing that all procedures should only be available to those aged over 18, the RPS expressed the view that all aesthetic training providers should be ‘robustly accredited and properly assessed’ before their training is made available to practitioners.

‘Aesthetics training is not currently governed and there is no oversight of training providers,’ the response said.

‘This means that anyone undertaking aesthetic procedures such as botox, dermal fillers and PDO threads would have the relevant training. This would ensure consistency in approach and reassure people who have these procedures.’

The RPS also said that there needs to be a method for those already in practice to demonstrate their experience through prior learning in order to gain the relevant accreditation.

It added that premises in which aesthetic procedures are provided should be licensed and inspected to ensure they comply with relevant standards including infection control, and that devices used in cosmetic or aesthetic treatments should also be licensed and regulated.