Speaker in the Spotlight: Sally Taber

Name: Sally Taber.

Career: Director of Independent Healthcare Advisory Services.

Session: How will the Keogh Report impart the industry?

Date: Monday 14 October at 11am.

Can you tell us about the Keogh Report?

The extreme case of the PIP implant fraud provoked Government to review this otherwise free market, a review led by Sir Bruce Keogh, supported by experts in the field. Their Report, Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions April 2013. Department of Health made nearly 40 recommendations. Here are a few quotes from the review:

“A person having a non-surgical cosmetic intervention has no more protection and redress than someone buying a ballpoint pen or a toothbrush…”

“Those having cosmetic interventions…take their safety as given and assume regulation is already in place to protect them.

“These recommendations are not about increasing bureaucracy but about putting everyone’s safety and wellbeing first.”

Do you feel there are clinics that employ aggressive sales techniques to pressure people into cosmetic interventions?

For all health interventions, the informed consent of the patient should not be influenced by financial inducements.

Our position as a patient-focused quality assurance scheme in the industry means that we get plenty of evidence sent to us of aggressive, exploitative and illegal activities by clinics apparently driven by profit, not patient benefit. If we cannot persuade clinics to change by pointing out their transgressions (and some are the result of ignorance of the rules, not deliberate, and who thank us for our help), we report these to the Advertising Standards Authority with the evidence. We publish authoritative advice to clinics on interpreting advertising guidelines from the Advertising Standards Authority. We work with the professional regulators on producing appropriate guidance for doctors, dentists and nurses. 

Do you feel the predominance of makeover programmes trivialise surgery and its risks?

There is a temptation for them to do so. I’ve recently noticed that some programmes now seem to include some reference to the risks involved, and several have concentrated on what is inappropriate (teenagers, vulnerable adults) in cosmetic interventions, which is laudable.

Do you feel young people are particularly vulnerable?

It is absolutely inappropriate for any non-surgical cosmetic intervention to be given to those aged 18 or below. Do-it-yourself attempts by mothers or daughters (and sons) cannot be stopped of course, but professional practitioners must never give in to entreaties from under 18s unless medically indicated. There are many articles and commentaries on the pressures of society generally to demand body perfection (however interpreted) and the young, inexperienced in life, are perhaps less likely to be able to discriminate the transient fashion from the permanent reality. Properly informed consent is the key.

Has the Keogh Report had a positive effect on these issues in so far?

The industry is holding its breath until the Government responds to Sir Bruce Keogh’s report in the Autumn. Ourselves and others are working closely with the DH Implementation Team to provide, for example, the Industry Training Standards to underpin Health Education England’s development of national training standards for all engaged in cosmetic interventions. Other subjects we are offering evidence upon include dermal fillers, complaints management, quality assurance, surgical specialists registers, outcome measures for cosmetic surgery, adverse incident reporting, implant registers, clinical audit and advertising standards. We believe that it may be possible, without binding the industry into over-bureaucracy, to greatly improve patient safety without destroying the ethical and profitable practitioner.

What will delegates gain from attending your session?

An informed view of some of the issues raised by Sir Bruce Keogh’s review and some of the issues being resolved.

What discussions do you hope to provoke with your talk?

A debate on how to take this valuable and expanding industry forward with appropriate safeguards for the safety of its patients.

What are you most looking forward to at the conference?

Learning more about the innovation and increased benefits for patients that enterprising clinics are offering, while encouraging debate about properly informed consent.

Join Sally Taber alongside some of the top beauty and spa industry experts this October at Professional Beauty’s seminar programme.

Book your delegate place here.