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Working Group makes recommendations on differentiating between medical procedures and beauty services (with photo)

     The Secretary for Food and Health, Dr Ko Wing-man, today (November 1) presided over the second meeting of the Steering Committee on Review of the Regulation of Private Healthcare Facilities, which endorsed the report submitted by the Working Group on Differentiation between Medical Procedures and Beauty Services, and supported the Administration's plan to implement its recommendations.

     The Working Group has met three times since 2012 and examined the risks of 35 types of cosmetic procedures. Based on members' views, it made seven recommendations in its report:

(1) Cosmetic procedures that involve injections should be performed by registered medical practitioners.

(2) Procedures that involve the mechanical/chemical exfoliation of the skin below the epidermis should be performed by registered medical practitioners.

(3) Traditional body tattooing and piercing should be exempted from being considered as a "medical procedure", but special care should be taken for procedures performed on body parts which have higher risk of complications (e.g. near the eyes, the tongue, etc). All practitioners should be well trained and adopt infection control measures when performing the procedures. Practitioners should ensure that consumers are aware of the inherent risks involved and make informed decisions.

(4) Hyperbaric oxygen therapy should not be performed as a form of beauty procedure. In view of its risks of complications, it should be performed by registered medical practitioners on patients with clinical indications.

(5) Dental bleaching may lead to complications, especially if performed inappropriately or performed on inappropriate clients, such as those suffering from pre-existing dental conditions. The procedure should be performed by registered dentists.

(6) It supports the Administration's plan to regulate medical devices through legislation and to exercise control over the use of selected high-risk medical devices.

(7) It recommends the setting up of an expert panel under future legislation to advise on the risk and appropriate controls over new cosmetic procedures based on innovative technology.

     Members of the Steering Committee were briefed on the seven recommendations and noted that high-risk cosmetic procedures should be regulated and that some procedures should only be performed by registered medical practitioners or registered dentists. For example, procedures involving injections of botulinum toxin A, dermal fillers, skin whitening agents and platelet-rich plasma, injection lipolysis and mesotherapy, as well as needle-free injections of cosmetic substances via the use of jet injectors, should only be performed by registered medical practitioners while dental bleaching should only be performed by registered dentists.

     The Steering Committee also noted that the Working Group had discussed colonic irrigation and procedures involving the use of devices which emit different forms of energy such as lasers. Given the heterogeneity of such devices, the Working Group supports the Administration's plan to implement control over their use through legislation.

     As regards colonic irrigation, the Steering Committee considers it necessary to step up control and public education in view of its risks.

     Looking ahead, Dr Ko said that the Steering Committee supported the Administration's plan to implement the recommendations of the Working Group. The Department of Health (DH) will issue an advisory note on the provision of cosmetic procedures to beauty service providers, reminding them to refrain from procedures that should only be performed by registered medical practitioners or registered dentists. Failure to follow the advice may render oneself liable for offences under the Medical Registration Ordinance (Cap. 161) or the Dentists Registration Ordinance (Cap. 156). Should a case of suspected violation of the two ordinances be identified via complaints or intelligence, investigation by law enforcement agency will be conducted with a view to prosecuting, depending on the facts and evidence of the individual case.

     The DH will also send letters to all medical practitioners reminding them to strictly observe the Code of Professional Conduct issued by the Medical Council of Hong Kong when they provide cosmetic procedures in their medical practice, including providing formal medical consultation and keeping proper medical records.

     At the same time, the Administration will step up public education to raise public awareness on the risks associated with cosmetic procedures, and remind the public of the need to consult medical practitioners for clinical diagnosis. Relevant information will also be provided to enable consumers to make informed choices about cosmetic procedures.

     The report submitted by the Working Group as well as the advisory note and the letters to doctors will be uploaded for public access at the websites of the Food and Health Bureau and the DH.

     At today's meeting, the Steering Committee has also reviewed the progress of its three other working groups. The three working groups are respectively responsible for defining high-risk medical procedures performed in an ambulatory setting, regulation of premises processing health products for advanced therapy, and regulation of private hospitals.

Ends/Friday, November 1, 2013
Issued at HKT 18:12


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