A Leeds-based aesthetics clinic has made an initial six-figure investment of over £500,000 in new premises, staff and equipment to become the first CQC-registered practice in the area, with an ongoing annual commitment of over £400,000 to retain this highly respected medical standard.
Evolve Medical, in Pudsey has a team made up of qualified consultants, GPs, nurses and beauty therapists, headed up by registered nurse Rachel Green who has over 20 years’ experience.
At present, a significant area of the aesthetics field is not regulated, for example councils regulate tattooing but not injectables, which performed incorrectly can cause significantly more harm to patients. And this is something Rachel feels passionate about.
She said: “Ultimately, it’s all about the safety of patients. We want to provide an accessible service, but of the highest standard which CQC immediately demonstrates. I strongly believe that injectables should be brought under the regulations of CQC, to ensure the standards of patient safety.
“If the industry was regulated with CQC then standards would be the same across the UK, and so create a safer consumer experience stopping non-medical, non-qualified practitioners which would be a significant turning point for the industry. With no industry standards for aesthetic practitioners as well as clinics, how can safety be guaranteed?”
To achieve its ‘Good’ rating, Evolve Medical invested hugely in equipment and training for staff, because this rating requires achieving the same standards as hospitals. All staff received additional mandatory training and the clinic made official its commitment to using regulated products (which it already did), which at the volumes used costs an additional £180,000 per year for filler alone. The cost without CQC could be much cheaper because it wouldn't need to be approved by FDA or even marked by CE.
All products that the clinic uses are sourced and prescribed by regulated pharmacies, whereas unregulated practitioners are able to source freely online. Rachel even travelled to Geneva to visit the sites where the products are made, to see the quality and care in production for herself.
She continued: “As a nurse or doctor, to be able to carry out treatments such as thread lifts you must be regulated by CQC. However, if you aren’t medical then you don’t - so in theory you could just practice from your own bedroom which seems insane.
“By becoming CQC registered we are making a clear commitment to being a safe, responsible and well-led clinic which puts its patients first.”
The CQC report highlighted key points such as:
- Staff treated patients with kindness, respect and compassion.
- Staff helped patients to be involved in decisions about care and treatment.
- The service respected patients’ privacy and dignity.
- Leaders had the capacity and skills to deliver high-quality, sustainable care.
- There were clear responsibilities, roles and systems of accountability to support good governance and management.
The only higher standard than ‘Good’ on the CQC rating system is ‘Outstanding’, and Evolve Medical’s current standard is described on the CQC website as ‘The service is performing well and meeting our expectations’.