New study reveals who is administering botox and filler in UK clinics

Published 23rd Jul 2023 by PB Admin

A first-of-its-kind study has broken down the professional qualifications of people delivering botulinum toxin and dermal filler in UK clinics, with doctors delivering 32% and aesthetic therapists 12%.

The study, by reseachers at University College London (UCL) was published in the Journal of Plastic, Reconstructive & Aesthetic Surgery and comes as the Government is due to announce a consultation into a a licensing scheme for injectable treatments this summer.

The new study examined the backgrounds and qualifications of those offering cosmetic injectable services in the UK.

UCL researchers, supported by a research grant from QUAD A, evaluated 3,000 websites, identifying 1,224 independent clinics and 3,667 practitioners responsible for delivering cosmetic injections.

The professions represented among these practitioners were diverse.

Who is performing injectable treatments in the UK?










Aesthetician / aesthetitc therapist



Dental nurse



Allied healthcare professional



Trainee dental nurse






Among the doctors, only 41% were on the specialist register, and 19% were listed on the GP register. Plastic surgery and dermatology were the two largest groups among the 27 specialities represented on the specialist register.

The cosmetic injectables market in the UK is projected to reach a value of £11.7 billion by 2026, despite being largely unregulated at present.

However, the UK Government is gearing up to address this issue by updating policies around injectables. A public consultation is scheduled to commence this year to inform amendments to the Medical Act in 2024.

Dr David Zargaran, a co-author of the study and an expert in UCL Plastic Surgery, emphasised that the lack of knowledge about the professional backgrounds of practitioners impedes adequate regulation of the industry. 

“There are well-documented, yet to-date unaddressed, challenges in the UK cosmetic injectables market," he said. “The range of backgrounds opens a broader question relating to competence and consent. It is important for patients to feel comfortable and confident that the person administering their treatment is competent in the procedure as a fundamental foundation of informed consent.” 

Dr Zargan added that the research will help the sector work towards a safer and more transparent injectables industry in the UK: "One of the key challenges facing the government’s licensing scheme is to ensure that practitioners granted a licence possess the skills and experience required to safely administer their treatment to minimise risks to patients."

The researchers said the paper provided a useful snapshot but admitted some of the data pulled from independent clinic websites relies on specific clinics’ reporting of role, qualification and background which are  subject to recall and reporter bias.

PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 23rd Jul 2023

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