The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) pressed the Scottish Government for clarity on its members’ clinics reopening following news that hairdressers can resume trading on Monday (5 April). But a letter from National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch says they will have to wait until Scotland moves from Level 4 to Level 3, currently 26 April at the earliest.
BCAM sought clarification following announcements by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon on the easing of lockdown restrictions. Aesthetic procedures and elective treatments were specifically prohibited by guidance issued in November when Scotland entered Level 4, but no further guidance has been forthcoming.
The response from Professor Leitch said clinics would have to adhere to the timescales for the progressive easing of restrictions, moving Scotland from Level 4 to Level 3 on 26 April if data is positive.
“Should that be the case, we anticipate that the restrictions on regulated independent healthcare will be eased at that time and will advise your members accordingly,” he said.
BCAM trustee Dr John Elder, who wrote to Professor Leitch on the College’s behalf, said: “This is hugely disappointing and doesn’t reflect the high clinical professional standards our members adhere to.”
Dr Elder requested confirmation that those practising aesthetic medicine could also reopen on 5 April, given the tight regulation of their clinics enforced by Healthcare Improvement Scotland (HIS) and the professional clinical conditions under which they operate compared to hairdressers.
Dr Elder wrote: “Can we infer therefore, that given the substantially greater clinical expertise, professionalism, understanding of the spread and control of infection and the extensive operating protocols required by the various regulatory and professional organisations, that doctors, aesthetic nurse practitioners and dentists providing aesthetic medicine and dermatology services will also be able to open from that date?”
Dr Elder also outlined the disparity between the private healthcare sector and the hospitality, tourism and beauty care industries which means medical businesses are explicitly excluded from government financial support schemes.
He added: “This inappropriate financial anomaly along with the extensive regulatory burden of HIS and the other statutory regulatory bodies that applies only to medical professionals has had a significant impact on the morale, mental and physical health of our members – many of whom continue to work in frontline NHS roles or volunteer within the vaccination service.
“It is essential therefore that regarding the lifting of lockdown restrictions, acknowledgement is made of the professional standards under which they work and that they are not simply lumped in with the non-medically qualified beauticians and hairdressers.”
Notes for Editors:
For further details, please contact BCAM Communications Coordinator Claire Britcher at Claire.Britcher@BCAM.ac.uk or call 07720 912039.
The British College of Aesthetic Medicine (BCAM) is the UK’s leading representative body for doctors and dentists practising aesthetic medicine. The charity aims to promote safe, effective and ethical treatment for patients and clinicians through leadership, education, support and professional development.