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Standards for aesthetics & cosmetic surgery

The Care Quality Commission regulates activities, however under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, this excludes non-surgical and non-invasive cosmetic procedures for aesthetics.

Rules and regulations

In the Health and Social Care Act 2008 (Regulated Activities) Regulations 2014, surgical procedures are defined as: "Surgical procedures cover the following procedures carried out by a healthcare professional: surgical procedures for treating disease, disorder or injury; or cosmetic surgery". However, the legislation does not provide a specific definition of what is meant by "cosmetic surgery".

There are many different cosmetic surgeries that aesthetic clinics can offer from facial procedures or more invasive procedures such as liposuction and surgery.

  • Liposuction - this includes Laser lipolysis

  • Refractive eye surgery or lens implant surgery

  • Subcutaneous injections of muscle relaxing substances used to alter appearance, like Anti-Wrinkle

  • Subcutaneous injections of substances used to alter appearance, like dermal fillers

  • chemical peels

  • Laser and intense pulse light (IPL) treatments like hair removal or skin rejuvenation

  • Cosmetic procedures involving cutting or inserting instruments or equipment into the body (unless the procedure is carried out by a registered healthcare professional).

  • Thread lifting carried out by someone who is not a healthcare professional. For example, a beautician.

​What are the 5 standards?

Inspectors are guided by 5 areas:

  • Safe: Are service users, staff and visitors protected from abuse and avoidable harm?

  • Effective: Is the care, treatment and support achieving good outcomes, promoting a good quality of life and is evidence-based where possible?

  • Caring: Do staff involve and treat people with compassion, kindness, dignity and respect? Is the culture of the organisation a caring one?

  • Responsive: Are services organised so that they meet people’s needs? ‘Responsive’ concerns whether care is shaped to fit the individual. Is it flexible to those preferences and needs? Does it adapt to fit if those needs or preferences change? It maps the principles of Person Centred Care very closely.

  • Well-led: Does leadership, management and governance of the organisation assure the delivery of high-quality person-centred care, support learning and innovation, and promote an open and fair culture.


Even though aesthetics clinics that specialise in less invasive procedures such as Anti-Wrinkle, any person considering treatment should make sure that the person doing the procedure is fully qualified and should always be carried out by someone trained and qualified to provide them.


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