At the beginning of November the Hong Kong Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko reported on the Working Group that was looking at the differentiation between Medical Procedures and Beauty Services. The group had met three times and seven recommendations were proposed ‘based on the members’ views’. It was not mentioned that the third meeting of the group had been boycotted by the representatives from the beauty services industry because the majority of the membership was medical and they could not listen to other perspectives. It was not surprising but it was still disappointing that amongst the seven recommendations is one that states that only registered medical practitioners should perform cosmetic procedures involving injections. One wonders why? I wonder why.
A few weeks ago I was asked to participate in a television interview so that I can share my views on the regulation of the cosmetic industry. It has been a rather tough year and I am getting older so that when I caught a glimpse of my tired, old face in the mirror I thought, “Oh dear, I need a quick makeover”. And that set me thinking about who I would want to perform cosmetic procedures on me! Of course, I would want someone who knows what they are doing; someone who understands the anatomy, the physiology, the psychology and the dynamics of aesthetics. I want someone who cares about me as an individual and can make me feel comfortable with the procedures and the outcomes. But does this have to be a registered medical practitioner? Well, no it doesn’t. There is something far more important than the primary qualification and that is the specific training in performing safe, effective and reasonably priced cosmetic interventions. I am not being unreasonable and I cannot see why my wishes cannot be met by a wide range of practitioners both medical and non-medical; as long as they are appropriately trained and assessed, and can demonstrate competence through a review of their outcomes. We are going to come back to this again and again. The debate must be thorough and the debate must be fair. We cannot allow assumptions which have little basis in fact to influence our judgment adversely.