Photo TBIndependent clinics have been legally required to register their service with Healthcare Improvement Scotland for over a year.

This registration process assures the public that the provider is fit for practice and provides clinics with the opportunity to demonstrate that they have met various stringent criteria. Regulation also helps to improve safety for customers and ensures that independent clinics continually ‘raise the bar’ by striving to improve the services that they provide. To date, nearly 300 clinics throughout Scotland have complied with the new legal requirement to register their business.

“We have recently taken the step of writing to independent clinics to let them know that unregistered services who submit completed applications on or after 1 October 2018 must cease trading until the registration process is complete.”

Members of the public who are unhappy with the services they have received in a clinic can also make a complaint to us. When a clinic is registered with us, we also have the power to take enforcement action where we identify a significant risk to the safety and wellbeing of patients.

For a customer about to opt to undergo a cosmetic procedure, confidence in the clinic they are using can often be a major concern. If a clinic is not registered with us, we cannot provide assurances for the public regarding the quality or safety of the service it provides.

Healthcare Improvement Scotland has communicated regularly with practitioners over the past 24 months to make them aware of the need to register their service. We have supported practitioners through the registration process and have demonstrated flexibility and understanding of this new legal requirement by allowing clinics trading prior to 1 April 2017 to continue to trade while going through registration.

However, we are aware that some services may still be trading that have yet to register or apply to register with us, and may indeed be wilfully avoiding the registration process.

As such, we have recently taken the step of writing to independent clinics to let them know that unregistered services who submit completed applications on or after 1 October 2018 must cease trading until the registration process is complete. If they continue to trade after this date, we will report the service to the Procurator Fiscal Service. If found guilty, the penalty for failing to comply with this legal requirement is up to three months imprisonment and/or a fine of up to £5,000.

Clinics that have registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland are demonstrating to customers that they take the safety of their patients seriously, that they operate to the highest standards and that they are committed to continual improvement.

With more and more people opting to undergo some form of cosmetic procedure, being able to provide assurances for the public that cosmetic interventions in Scotland are carried out in safe and regulated environments is absolutely crucial.

“Clinics that have registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland are demonstrating to customers that they take the safety of their patients seriously, that they operate to the highest standards and that they are committed to continual improvement.”

Our advice to anyone interested in receiving cosmetic treatments is to consult the list of regulated clinics on the Healthcare Improvement Scotland website.

If you would like to find out more about registration and regulation, please call the Independent Healthcare Enquiry Line on 0131 623 4342 or email hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net.

To access our list of registered clinics, visit www.healthcareimprovementscotland.org

Tracy Birch is Senior Programme Manager in Quality Assurance at Healthcare Improvement Scotland.