One in five beauty clinics are UNSAFE and let untrained staff perform breast enlargements, nose jobs and facelifts on vulnerable patients while using out-of-date medicine, watchdog finds
- The Care Quality Commission (CQC) found fifth of practices put clients at risk
- Procedures often performed by untrained staff who didn’t follow infection safety
- Found others used outdated medicines and put clients at danger while sedated
One in five beauty clinics which perform cosmetic surgeries put their clients at risk of serious harm, a damning report has found.
The Care Quality Commission (CQC) warned too many were carrying out unsafe facelifts, nose jobs, breast enlargements, weight loss surgeries and hair transplants.
It found the procedures at these clinics were often performed by untrained staff who did not follow infection prevention standards.
The report also revealed some clients were given out-of-date medicine and left in danger while sedated during liposuction.
It is the latest blow to the clinics, which have been accused of preying on the body-conscious by offering them buy-one-get-one-free surgeries and ignoring the psychological impacts of the alterations.
One in five beauty clinics which perform cosmetic surgeries are performing unsafe facelifts, nose jobs, breast enlargements and weight loss surgeries (file image)
The health regulator has threatened to shut down the businesses, part of a booming industry, following its report published on Tuesday.
It found that 20 per cent of the services it licenses to carry out cosmetic surgeries showed multiple ‘areas of inadequate practice’.
Many were poor at monitoring vulnerable patients whose health may deteriorate and did not get proper consent before starting treatment.
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Jackie Doyle-Price, the minister for mental health and suicide prevention, said anyone thinking of a breast enlargement or lip fillers must check that the practitioner is qualified.
She disclosed figures showing that at least one NHS hospital has seen a six-fold rise in corrective procedures following cut-price cosmetic surgery abroad.
Contestants such as Love Island’s Megan Barton-Hanson have spoken openly about undergoing such surgery. But Miss Doyle-Price said: ‘Love Island sits atop lots of things which put across a generally unrealistic picture of body image.
‘We also see it in The Only Way Is Essex and Absolutely Ascot – everyone is having lip fillers and boob jobs.
‘If people want to change aspects of their appearance that is fine, but they need to understand that all these procedures come with risk.’
She said one study at the Royal London Hospital last year found a six-fold rise in cases needing follow-up care from procedures done abroad since 2013. The hospital spent more than £63,000 to repair botched overseas surgery.
The Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London had to treat 12 patients with infected fillers in the past year at a cost of £40,000.
Miss Doyle-Price warned against going to places such as Turkey, India and eastern Europe for inexpensive operations. ‘Please don’t do it because the NHS is having to put problems right,’ she said.
Patients at these clinics were also not being given enough ‘cooling off’ time after their consultation to properly consider the procedures.
Other common areas of concern included an inability to manage anaphylaxis – a deadly allergic reaction – and a lack of attention to fundamental safety processes.
The CQC said it also had concerns about equipment cleanliness and maintenance at some clinics.
It has so far inspected 65 of the 102 services it licenses in England to carry out cosmetic surgery and published reports on 58 of them.
The watchdog has taken enforcement action against 12 of those 58 – a fifth of the total. This means the surgeries must make fundamental changes to their practices or risk being closed.
In August, the regulator suspended the Look Younger clinic in Chichester in west Sussex from operating after uncovering an array of safety issues.
The establishment was found to be putting patients at risk by not doing enough to control the risk of infection.
It was also using out-of-date medicine and had too few trained staff to keep patients safe.
The CQC also stripped Bearwood cosmetic clinic in Solihull, West Midlands, of its licence after unearthing a number of unsafe practices.
Details around what poor standards inspectors found will be released when a new report is ‘published soon’, the watchdog said.
Professor Ted Baker, the CQC’s chief inspector of hospitals, has since written to all the beauty clinics and warned them they face being shut down if standards are not improved.
In the letter, he says: ‘Where we have concerns about the quality and safety of services, we will use our enforcement powers to demand improvements and, in the case of very significant concerns, to suspend or cancel a provider’s registration in order to protect people receiving care.’
The Royal College of Surgeons of England said the CQC’s findings showed that some clinics were not meeting its own professional standards for cosmetic surgery.