Superdrug must screen customers for body dysmorphia before providing Botox, NHS boss says

Superdrug has been warned by the NHS to screen its customers thoroughly before offering them botox or skin fillers in-store.

The cosmetics chain announced in August it would start offering the skin treatments to customers aged over 25, with prices starting at £99.

But NHS England has warned people having the procedures must be screened for mental health problems and to make sure they have realistic expectations.

Superdrug staff will have a responsibility to protect vulnerable people, the national medical director of the NHS, Professor Stephen Powis, said yesterday.

For example, they should be on alert to spot mental health conditions like body image disorder, in which people worry obsessively about their looks.

Professor Powis warned the skin rejuvenation procedures could pose a risk to customers and must only be carried out by trained staff who can safeguard their patients.

The Skin Renew Service has launched in Superdrug’s London Strand store before it is rolled out nationwide.

Procedures include lip fillers and botox, which is used to reduce wrinkeles, and are only available after a phone booking and consultation with a qualified nurse.

The procedures start at £99 and are carried out in a private consultation room.

In a letter to Peter Macnab, the chief executive of Superdrug’s parent company A.S. Watson (Health and Beauty UK), Professor Powis said the treatments could pose a risk to patients.

He wrote: ‘These interventions are invasive procedures and may be accompanied by serious risks.

‘They should be offered only in situations where they are accompanied by a robust level of clinical governance, and they should be provided only by trained professionals with a full understanding of the implications and risks involved.’

Professor Powis requested details of the training and qualifications of the staff who will carry out the procedures.

And he asked for reassurance that staff and customers will both be aware of possible complications.

Possible side effects of having botox include flu-like symptoms, bruising or swelling, and temporary weakness or drooping of the face.

In rare but more severe cases, the injections can also cause vision problems or breathing difficulties, depending on where they are given.

Superdrug has also been asked to confirm it has adopted the professional standards for non-surgical cosmetic procedures.

Professor Powis said in his letter: ‘While I expect that all appropriate safeguards are in place for your service, you will know that the unchecked proliferation of providers offering cosmetic procedures introduces a risk to patient safety, unless strong and vigilant clinical risk assessments are established.’

A spokeswoman for Superdrug said: ‘Having reviewed the letter from Professor Stephen Powis we will be providing him with the full details on the qualifications of our practitioner and the processes we have in place to ensure the very highest standards of care and patient safety.

‘We’re highly supportive of championing a more regulated service to further ensure patients’ safety in aesthetic treatments.

‘We would welcome the opportunity to work with the NHS England and other organisations to achieve this aim.’ 

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