At the end of July the GMC (General Medical Council) issued new guidelines to the medical profession surrounding the prescribing of cosmetic injectables such as Botox. Until last week practitioners could prescribe Botox and other injectable cosmetics by phone, email, video-link or fax.
The new guidance came into force from the 23rd July and has been issued to all doctors in the UK, as a way to strengthen the existing regulations on prescribing these treatments. A face to face consultation must be undertaken before any decision is made on the most effective treatment for each patient.
This complete prohibition on prescribing Botox etc. without a consultation could jeopardise professionals’ registration if they decide to flout the rules.
Mr Baljit Dheansa a Consultant Plastic Surgeon at McIndoe Surgical Centre said, 'It is good that the GMC has recognised the importance of cosmetic products and their potential effects by ensuring that doctors stop the practise of remote prescribing for drugs like Botox. The cosmetic industry has expanded so much over the last few years and it has sometimes forgotten that many treatments and products can have significant side effects or inappropriate reactions. It is essential for all doctors to not only ensure patients are well treated but also protected as much as possible. It is essential that we don't forget how important it is to have skilled practitioners working safely to avoid the sometimes dreadful results we occasionally see in the media'
The guidance, states: ‘You must undertake a physical examination of patients before prescribing non-surgical cosmetic medicinal products such as Botox, Dysport or Vistabel or other injectable cosmetic medicines. You must not therefore prescribe these medicines by telephone, fax, video-link, or online.’
Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the GMC, said: ‘We recognise that patients can benefit from communicating with their doctor by email, phone, or video-link or fax and that is fine as long as it is done safely, but our new guidance makes clear that doctors must now not prescribe medicines such as Botox remotely.
‘These are not trivial interventions and there are good reasons why products such as Botox are prescription only. We are clear that doctors should assess any patient in person before issuing a prescription of this kind. So while remote prescribing may be the right answer in many situations, this is not one of them.'
Katherine Murphy, Chief Executive of the Patients Association, added: ‘The Patients Association welcomes all guidance that strengthens rights and helps inform choice. Face to face appointments give patients the most appropriate opportunity to question clinicians directly about their care. Doctors must encourage a partnership approach, ensuring that patients are equal partners in their care and the decisions made about it.’
A copy of the new remote prescribing guidance can be read on the GMC’s website www.gmc-uk.org/guidance/ethical_guidance/13594.asp if you are interested in knowing more.
McIndoe Surgical Centre welcomes the new guidance rules having always adopted consultant led prescribing of injectables and will not have to make any changes to their processes. If you are interested in any injectable procedure then you will be seen by a consultant plastic surgeon in a face to face consultation before any treatment goes ahead. This helps to ensure they fully understand the patient’s medical history and reasons for wanting the treatment.
Furthermore if the consultant believes the process will not achieve your desired effect after the consultation then he will not recommend you for treatment. It’s all about managing patients expectations effectively no matter how large or small the treatment may be.
For further information on Botox or any other procedure please visit www.mcindoesurgical.co.uk or call our helpline on 0800 917 4922