Will I need a Level 7 to get my aesthetics licence?
With the arrival of the government’s regulatory proposals, many injectors are asking, “Will I need a Level 7 to get my aesthetics licence?”
Here we explain our understanding of the proposals, and speak to our Licensing Advisor, Chair of the Joint Council of Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), Professor David Sines, CBE, for details.
Prof. Sines is a respected campaigner for patient safety in the non-surgical cosmetic sector. Through his JCCP and previous government roles, he has spearheaded campaigns for regulation of UK aesthetics.
The information in this article is correct at the time of publishing, 6 September 2023. Please be aware that as the aesthetics licensing scheme becomes better defined, more up-to-date details will become available. We will add these to our website, so do ensure you’re reading the most current information.
DO AESTHETICS PRACTITIONERS HAVE TO HAVE A LEVEL 7 IN INJECTABLES TO GET THEIR LICENCE UNDER THE NEW SCHEME?
The short answer here is that no one knows yet. This is because the proposals regarding the minimum standard of education and training required to obtain an aesthetics licence to practice have not been released.
The Department of Health & Social Care (DHSC) is taking a structured, painstaking approach to regulating the aesthetics sector. It is methodically addressing each element of concern in turn. Previous statements have made it clear that they want to get this right so are willing to take their time.
This first proposal and ensuing eight-week consultation is focused on what treatments it should be regulating. The consultation is looking at which treatments belong in each of the proposed red, amber and green categories. It’s asking for people to submit the names of any treatments or procedures they believe are missing from the proposals.
Furthermore, whilst the proposal is clear – every aesthetics practitioner will be required to obtain a licence to practice – it’s also considering who should be able to administer each category of treatment.
IDENTIFYING TREATMENTS BY TRAINING STANDARDS
Amber and red procedures are the most concerning categories. These are those deemed to pose a higher risk to patient safety. As such, it makes sense that these would require practitioners to have higher levels of education and appropriate medical aesthetics training to gain their licence to practice.
Professor Sines explains, “We’re talking now about procedures that penetrate the epidermis or the skin or go beyond that. And those procedures you’ll hear a lot about in the next 3-6 months as the government starts to consult on the procedures it will build into a new national, compulsory licence."
Talking specifically about the Level 7 injectables qualification, he advises, “These are all going to become part of the new licence. And they will be identified by training standards that we know the Harley Academy standard is very close to meeting. When I say ‘close to meeting’, might have met it – why can’t I tell you more? Because we haven’t seen the new standard yet."
“With that in mind, he continues, “we have to recognise that Harley Academy, and other training providers that formally approved, are well on their way to providing a future-proofed licence with regard to education and training.”
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF AESTHETICS QUALIFICATIONS MAY BE REQUIRED FOR EACH LICENCE TIER
Practice licences may be granted for specific categories of treatments, and each tier may be tied to a different standard of aesthetics training and education.
For example, let’s say an aesthetician wants to obtain a licence to practice green tier treatments, such as microneedling and the most superficial chemical peels. It’s unlikely they would be required to hold a Master’s level qualification in injectables, such as the Level 7 Diploma in Botox & Dermal Fillers. However, their practice would be restricted solely to executing the treatments specified within the scope of their licence.
We know that injectables including botulinum toxins and dermal fillers are being classed as amber procedures. Therefore, it may be the case that the minimum standard of education required to obtain an amber practitioner licence is deemed to be the Level 7. Again, we do not yet know; this is purely conjecture based on a few pertinent facts.
WHY ARE PEOPLE SAYING PRACTITIONERS WILL NEED A LEVEL 7 TO GET THEIR AESTHETICS LICENCE?
the Level 7 was co-developed by our founder, Dr Tristan Mehta in 2016, around the Health Education England framework for postgraduate education in aesthetic medicine. It was also the first qualification of its kind to be Ofqual-regulated.
As such, it already meets a number of desirable criteria outlined by the government. This is one of the key reasons it has long been talked about as the potential ‘gold standard’.
Professor Sines has explained how these standards were developed and how Harley Academy was instrumental in informing the JCCP’s own standards for education in the sector.
He explains, “The JCCP has always made it very clear to the government, and to our stakeholders, and of course to members of the public, that by seeking a national standard and an implementable standard of education and training, is the best way to protect members of the public when they seek to receive and undertake cosmetic interventions or procedures.”
“Harley Academy saw the opportunity to develop those standards,” notes Prof Sines. “Through their standards, we also developed and refined our education and training standards.” He states that these “are now nationally implementable but not legally enforceable. Without legal enforcement of a standard, then there’s an issue.”
He continues, “What Harley has done, it’s taken its own education and training to a new level. It’s worked with an awarding body. That’s VTCT, an awarding body that the JCCP holds in great regard, because the standards that VTCT and Ofqual, our national vocational regulator, undertake and put in place map onto our own standards. The professional standards for cosmetic practice.
“So Harley Academy has refined its standards and methods of teaching to a national standard, which we believe is really an exemplary standard.”
WHEN WILL WE KNOW WHAT THE MANDATORY MINIMUM AESTHETICS QUALIFICATION IS FOR INJECTORS LOOKING TO ADMINISTER BOTOX AND FILLERS?
Following the conclusion of the current consultation, we’ll see more proposals and further consultations. This first consultation is due to conclude on the evening of 28 October 2023.
We believe the part setting out details of the minimum standard of education aesthetics practitioners will be required to attain to be granted the appropriate licence to practice, will be released soon.
Once it’s been published, there will be another consultation so people can feedback on its contents.
Professor Sines says, “Harley Academy was one of the first educational partners that came along to help us think through the art of the possible…A number of years of consolidated learning, constant improvement of our standards together, and testing those. But also ensuring that quality and patient safety sits at the heart of all we do together.”
“There’s a journey that we can pursue, and we’re really looking forward to making a reality out of the new standards that we believe will support and enhance public protection and patient safety.”