We recently wrote on the changing landscape of cosmetic treatment regulation in England and Wales. Now, following a consultation for non-surgical cosmetic procedures that "pierce or penetrate the skin", the Scottish Government is likely to introduce measures to enhance public safety around the procedures in Scotland. These measures could include restricting those who can administer dermal fillers and mean that those performing treatments must meet training requirements and clinical standards.

Public Consultation

The Scottish Government ran the consultation between January and June 2020, on increasing regulation of non-surgical procedures, and on their proposals to introduce a licensing scheme for treatment providers. The consultation was prompted by the rising number of non-surgical cosmetic treatments performed in the UK; and, concerns regarding the safety of procedures in unregulated premises. The results of the consultation were published on 7 July 2022.

Consultation Questions

The consultation asked three key questions regarding regulation of non-surgical procedures and whether to bring pharmacists who provide services outside of NHS contracts under the regulation of HIS (Healthcare Improvement Scotland) by adding them to the list of service providers included in the definition of an independent clinic. The questions forming the consultation, and the responses , are detailed below.

Question 1: Do you agree that further regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures is needed?

98% of responses agreed with this statement. The Government's summary of the consultation results noted that "most of the respondents felt that non-surgical cosmetic procedures should be conducted by trained, qualified and regulated healthcare professionals". It is unclear what training or qualifications would be needed specifically to carry out these procedures.

Question 2: Do you agree that the carrying out of non-surgical cosmetic procedures (that pierce/penetrate the skin) by individuals who are not qualified healthcare professionals should be licensed under Part 1 of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982?

61% of respondents agreed with this statement. In its release, the Government noted "Most respondents who disagreed with the proposal felt that more robust regulation than licensing was needed, or that the procedures should only be performed by healthcare professionals."

Question 3: Do you agree that services provided by pharmacists who undertake independent healthcare practices (including non-surgical cosmetic procedures) outwith the terms of an NHS contract should be regulated by HIS?

90% of respondents to the consultation felt pharmacists should fall under HIS's regulation, equivalent to other healthcare professionals.

What happens next?

In their response to the consultation, the Scottish Government stated, "It is clear from the consultation responses that there is a strong public support for further regulation of non-surgical cosmetic procedures that pierce or penetrate the skin". It continued that based on the responses, the "priority from a clinical safety perspective" was the regulation of dermal fillers. These were particularly highlighted on the basis that if a treatment was incorrectly performed, it could have complications which required urgent prescription-only medication to prevent further harm; unlike other non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

Timescales for implementation, and details of any drafting, of any legislation or regulations following the consultation have yet to be released, but it now seems very likely that increased regulation of non-surgical procedures is coming to Scotland. The Scottish Government also plans to look into other procedures which may require similar regulation, and we may expect further consultations and regulations to follow over the next few years in the beauty sector.

Get in touch with Lynn or Alison if you have any questions relating to this article or any questions generally around clinical negligence and aesthetics claims. We're here to help.


Lynn Livesey

Legal Director

Alison Waddell