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How a MSc Degree can Protect You and Your Patients

Despite the current lack of regulation in the aesthetics industry, it remains critical that risk management is at the forefront of Clinician’s minds when assessing and treating patients.

One medical professional governing body clearly states, “You must only carry out a task or a type of treatment if you are appropriately trained, competent, confident and indemnified. Training can take many different forms. But it’s up to you to ensure it delivers what you need to know together with the skills and competencies at the correct level and to quality assured standards. It is imperative that you make sure that you have undertaken training which is appropriate for you and equips you with the knowledge and skills to perform a task safely.” And, “You should only deliver treatment and care if you are confident that you have had the necessary training and are competent to do so. If you are not confident to provide treatment, you must refer the patient to an appropriately trained colleague”.

Without doubt, regulation in our industry is an important topic, and one that, to many, has so far not been satisfactorily resolved.

The Background

Commissioned by the Department of Health, following the PIP implant scandal, the Keogh Report, “Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions”, was released in April 2013. However, the government response to the Keogh Report released in Feb 2014, was looked upon in the industry to be very disappointing as the key recommendations in the report were rejected by the government, i.e. that there should be a compulsory register of cosmetic practitioners and that dermal fillers should be made prescription only medical devices.

Following Keogh, Health Education England (HEE) set up the cosmetic non-surgical interventions expert reference group (ERG) with a remit to provide guidance to educational providers on entry, teaching and learning requirements, and to consider which treatments practitioners should be able to deliver following successful completion of training. In November 2015, HEE published part one of its report.

In September 2020, this contentious and crucial subject was revisited by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) and Institute of Licensing (IoL), with the aim of enhancing public safety with regards to improving the regulatory regime of cosmetic treatments and has resulted in the publication of two new reports:

  • A fragmented picture: regulation of cosmetic treatments in the UK

  • The ugly side of beauty: improving the safety of cosmetic treatments in England.

Within the reports are a list of currently unregulated treatments which include: Botulinum Toxins, Dermal Fillers, Lasers, Micro-Needling and many more. Regulators suggested that licensing would provide a greater level of public protection than registration because practitioners and premises would be required to meet a set of licence conditions to operate. It notes that, “These conditions could include minimum requirements on training, competence, equipment, premises and hygiene standards. To ensure consistent standards across all local authorities, respondents suggest that licence conditions should be set nationally.”

The Conception of ANSI

Brian Franks, Visiting Professor and Programme Clinical Director for the new MSc in Clinical Aesthetic Non-Surgical Interventions (ANSI) validated by the University of Bolton, was a member of the expert reference group of HEE.

Following his involvement with HEE in 2015, Brian recognised the need for training that was quality assured. He identified that a MSc being a University qualification would provide academic rigor, credibility, and, also, make provision for future possible legislative practicing requirements. To this end, Brian together with his Co-producers, Professor Stewart Harding, Dean of the City of London Dental School, and Helen Gordon, Managing Partner of The Wynyard Aesthetics Academy, developed a flexible MSc learning platform to cater for the busy practitioner already juggling work and home life.

The MSc ANSI, delivered by the City of London Dental School and validated by the University of Bolton, which is accredited by the British Government, and whose degrees are recognised internationally, is designed to equip students with the appropriate cognitive and technical skills and to develop a level of diagnostic skill and understanding in accordance with regulatory and Health Education England (HEE) guidelines.

The aims of this, evidence-based programme are to help students to:

  • Review current understanding of aesthetic non-surgical interventions, through reflection and research

  • Explain latest concepts and protocols

  • Differentiate between types of evidence

  • Recall the risk factors for non-surgical interventions

  • Appreciate their limitations

  • Identify future learning needs

Flexible study modules are delivered through a blended part time MSc programme made up of face to face and online learning. Predominantly online, the MSc programme, allows the flexibility to fit studies around practice and home life and can be completed in as little as one year or over three with exit points at Certificate and Diploma HE Level 7.

There are 6 carefully designed modules leading up to the final MSc dissertation:

  1. Patient Assessment and Risk Management designed to develop an evidence-based approach to patient selection as well as instil the skills required to recognise and provide treatment modalities and risk assessment.

  2. Reflective Clinical Practice encourages students to critically reflect on their professional practice, both clinical and managerial, in order to explore questions which are fundamental to their professional development.

  3. Understanding Research and Critical Appraisal (URECA) helps students to develop research skills and covers clinical statistics, evidence-based practice along with critical appraisal.

  4. Skin/Tissue Rejuvenation and Enhancement specifically concentrates on skin rejuvenation treatments. It has been designed to equip the student with the knowledge of skin anatomy combined with the understanding of different skin conditions and various treatment modalities.

  5. Advanced Clinical Practice designed to explore combination treatments from diagnosis to treatment planning utilising various modalities and including advanced injectable procedures.

  6. Patient Care and Psychological Wellbeing provides a fundamental understanding of the psychological and emotional wellbeing of patients who have elected to access aesthetic non-surgical interventions. Focus is placed on the consultation process to develop mutual trust, identify patients’ fears, and develop screening processes to establish patient suitability for treatment.

Modules are taught by tutors highly experienced in their fields in the UK and internationally, and separate clinical internships can be arranged for those students specifically looking to develop their clinical skills.

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