Confusion left in the wake of the withdrawal of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulation of clinics offering aesthetic laser and ipl treatments such as hair removal have cast doubts over the safety of customers opting for laser hair removal. The strict certification which the clinics had to satisfy to have CQC approval has been replaced by a somewhat less than cohesive range of local authority special treatment licenses. The quality and specification is at the whim of the local authority, leaving the potential for glaring inconsistencies in its wake.
The standard of special treatment licenses is currently under review by a government department who are working with the CQC and the Department of Health to provide recommendations to local authorities for an inspection pro-forma and enforcement expectations, maintenance requirements and, where necessary, access to specialist knowledge.
Currently http://www.whichlaserclinic.com is carrying out a check of how councils are responding to this new challenge but at present (November 2010) will only be listing clinics with CQC registration history. This decision will be reassessed in April 2011 when it is expected local authorities will be up to speed with their new role.
Reasons why greater enforcement is needed for laser hair removal clinics:
The following figures are courtesy of the International Association for Physicians in Aesthetic Medicine (IAPAM):
78% of complications occurred in non-traditional medical facilities, such as freestanding medical spas and laser centres in shopping malls;
46% of complications occurred with hair reduction;
21% of complications occurred with laser/light leg vein treatments; and
42% of complications were permanent.
Whilst the CQC were enforcing standards, these were some of the examples of malpractice they came across:-
• undertaking treatment with no medical history to assess contraindications
• no expert medical protocols to establish treatment parameters, contraindications and cautions for treatment
• no certified laser protection advisor or laser protection supervisor to ensure compliance with local rules and protocols
• no local rules to identify and maintain safe and controlled area
• no evidence of valid consent highlighting potential risks and side effects of treatment
• poor client/patient record keeping with little evidence of treatments received and energy levels used
• little or no evidence of staff training in the use of lasers/intense pulsed lights and safety
• little or no evidence of laser/intense pulsed light machine service, maintenance and repairs
• no adverse/near miss incident reporting system
• laser/intense pulsed light eye safety goggles damaged or not identifiable to the specific laser/intense pulsed light
WhichLaserClinic.com recommendations for new laser clinics:
Currently WhichLaserClinic.com are recommending laser establishments to check on recommendations from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), ensure that their lasers conform to BS laser safety standards, have suitable medical indemnity insurance etc. and follow the 32 core standards and three service specific standards previously enforced by the CQC as set out below:
C1 Information for patients
C2 Patient-centred care
C3 Management of patient conditions
C4 Monitoring quality
C5 Care of the dying - not applicable
C6 Patients’ views
C7 Policies and procedures
C8 Role and responsibilities of the registered manager
C9 Human resource policies and procedures -
C10 Practicing privileges
C11 Compliance with professional codes of practice
C12 Healthcare workers and blood borne viruses
C13 Child protection procedures
C14 Complaints process
C15 Information for patients about complaints
C17 Healthcare premises
C18 Condition and maintenance of equipment and supplies
C19 Catering for patients
C20 Risk management policy
C21 Health and safety measures
C22 Medicines management
C23 Ordering and storage of medicines
C24 Controlled drugs
C25 Infection control
C26 Medical devices and decontamination
C29 Records management
C30 Completion of health records
C31 Information management
P1 - Laser and intense pulsed light treatment protocol written by an expert medical practitioner.
P2 - Staff training for laser and intense pulsed light treatments
P3 - Local rules and laser/intense pulsed light controlled area
For more information on laser hair removal, PCOS, and to list a laser and ipl treatment clinic, visit http://www.whichlaserclinic.com
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WhichLaserClinic.com is a directory of clinics founded by experienced people within the hair removal industry who had been working with Verity - the PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) charity - to offer discounts on various hair removal products.
WhichLaserClinic.com is owned and maintained by Laser Clinic Services (Europe) LLP.