Doctors join Which? to protect laser patientsPlan to relax controls may see more botched jobs

11 July 2008

laser hair removal

Laser hair removal should be carried out by a trained operator

Doctors and patient groups have joined Which? in opposing government plans that could see many more cosmetic patients suffer botched treatments.

From October, the government is planning to remove non-surgical laser procedures, such hair removal and skin treatments, from current healthcare regulation. 

Now Which? - together with more than 30 patient groups, medical bodies, cosmetic clinics and industry representatives – has written to health minister Ben Bradshaw calling on him to halt the plans.

The groups believe that the rush to relax protection should be delayed, and alternative statutory schemes should be put in place.

Cost to NHS

The government has openly stated that cosmetic laser deregulation will cost the NHS an extra £1.8m a year as well as double the rate of ‘adverse incidents’ such as people getting burns and skin damage. 

But Which? believes these figures will be much higher.

Which? health campaigner Jenny Driscoll said: ‘The opposition to this government plan is across the board. 

We believe the government figures underestimate the impact

‘This unique group has joined forces to tell the minister to seriously take heed of the warnings from patient groups, health experts and the cosmetic industry. We believe the government figures underestimate the impact of deregulation.’

Call for review

Which? would like to see the government fulfilling its previous commitment to review the industry, as recommended by expert groups and the health watchdog.

We’re concerned that the government is not providing any substitute scheme to monitor the cosmetic laser industry and help people check out clinics.

Jenny Driscoll added: ‘There are concerns that if the plan goes ahead, standards will drop and more people will be harmed, with the NHS left to pick up the bill.’

Which? is asking people to get in touch if they have had cosmetic laser treatment through our cosmetic treatments campaign site.