What are the new rules?

It is essential to a shared understanding of expectations and limitations that consent to a cosmetic intervention is sought by the doctor who will perform it or supervise its performance by another practitioner.

Make sure patients are given enough time and information before they decide whether to have an intervention. How do you calculate an appropriate amount of time? The GMC say the time will vary depending on the invasiveness, complexity, permanence and risks of the intervention. For injectable treatments, these will be at the lower end of the scale.

You must satisfy yourself that the patient’s request for the cosmetic intervention is voluntary.

Before carrying out an intervention for the first time yourself, or supervising others performing it, you must make sure you can do so safely, e.g. by undergoing training or seeking opportunities for supervised practice. Seek advice or refer on when necessary.

Make sure patients have the information they want or need, including written information that supports continuity of care and includes relevant information about the medicines or devices used — and this should be done at the outset, not after the treatment. What else counts as a risk? The failure of an intervention to achieve the desired aim.

Make sure younger patients want the procedure themselves, irrespective of whether their parent(s) consent to it.

You should be able to attract patientswithout making unjustifiable claims about interventions, trivialising the risks involved, or using promotional tactics that might encourage people to make ill-considered decisions.

What next?

The rules come into force on 1st June 2016. Until other regulatory bodies such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) publish their own rules, we recommend that nurses, midwives’ dentists and other professionals working in aesthetics follow the GMC guidance.