The BACN and PIAPA issue a statement on voluntary registers

The Safety in Beauty Campaign is publishing this statement issued today by the BACN and PIAPA on voluntary registers.

The Safety in Beauty Campaign share the sentiments issued by both the BACN and PIAPA namely: “We firmly believe that no nurse, doctor or dentist should feel the need to join a fee-charging Voluntary Registration body to reassure the general public as to their professional competence”


BACN and PIAPA The British Association of Cosmetic Nurses (BACN) and Private Independent Aesthetic Practices Association (PIAPA) would like to issue this joint statement addressing the current and prevalent issue of voluntary registers for medical cosmetic practitioners. There has been a lot of publicity recently about cases where patients have been unhappy about the treatment they have received from an individual or clinic. Patient safety and satisfaction is at the top of the agenda of all the Governing Councils and Professional Associations. We would like to clarify the position with regard to how we address such instances where treatment is provided by a member of a professional body/association and who is registered with a governing council and how this differs from the process adopted by a ‘Voluntary Registration Body’. A number of Voluntary Registers are in operation in the aesthetics sector operated by private companies, the most recent example being SAVE FACE. These bodies do not have the power to accredit any individual or company with regard to medical competence – this is the role of the governing councils such as the GMC, NMC and GDC. It is our official position that a practitioner is accredited to practice by their relative governing council and medical insurers. We firmly believe that no nurse, doctor or dentist should feel the need to join a fee-charging Voluntary Registration body to reassure the general public as to their professional competence. Medical professionals have worked hard to acquire their qualifications and understand their obligations to do no harm unto their patients. It is solely the role of the respecting governing bodies whether that be the Nursing and Midwifery Council, General Medical Council or General Dental Council to determine fitness to practice and the duty of individuals to highlight when a fellow colleague is failing in their levels of care.

Under new guidelines both the NMC and GMC have introduced measures to address practice within their various disciplines and those who have chosen to work independently. This includes producing evidence of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) and training, checks and reflections with a fellow medical practitioner in your specific field and proof of professional indemnity insurance. The BACN and PIAPA have both participated in the recent NMC Revalidation Pilot established to develop procedures for revalidating the medical skills of nurses. Both the BACN and PIAPA will continue to support members in their choice to act freely and responsibly within the realms of regulation and good practice.

We both support additional checks being made with regard to non-medical practice issues such as the quality and standards operated with regard to clinics or premises where treatments are taking place. However having a ‘kite mark’ in this area in no way gives a guarantee with regard to the treatments being provided, this can only come from the governing medical councils. Any Voluntary Register that is offering guarantees of professional practice beyond a premises check could not sustain this position if this is challenged by a patient.

Any complaint would always find its way back to the governing councils. The Voluntary Registers therefore cannot offer any kind of guarantee of patient safety or access to a process for complaints without the approval of the governing councils. Aesthetics is an independent and ever-evolving area of medicine and it is our individual and collective duty to pro-actively encourage the public to seek information from the official medical registers and empower them with the confidence to ask the right questions over qualifications, training and indemnity.

The BACN and PIAPA will continue to work with the Government, governing councils and other professional associations to deliver new forms of accreditation that the public can see and that will give them reassurance about who is carrying out their treatment. Sharon Bennett BACN Chair Yvonne Senior PIAPA Chair

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