Associate feature: Making cosmetic services in Scotland safer

Written by Kevin Freeman-Ferguson on 27 October 2017 in Comment

Kevin Freeman-Ferguson, head of service review at Healthcare Improvement Scotland, on how registration of cosmetic clinics is good for both patients and practitioners

Image credit: HIS

The number of people choosing to have cosmetic procedures in Scotland is increasing. More than 50,000 people in the UK opted for such procedures last year, according to the British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.

There are many reputable clinics and practitioners operating across Scotland. However, like any sector or industry, there are some that do not maintain the highest of standards and this remains one of the least regulated areas of healthcare.

That is why the new registration system for independent clinics that came into force in Scotland in April 2017 is extremely important. The law requires all independent clinics to be registered with Healthcare Improvement Scotland. An independent clinic is where registered doctors, nurses, dentists, midwives and dental care professionals are providing services which are not part of a hospital.  

Although registration is now a legal requirement, it brings clear benefits for both the independent clinics and their customers. This system will help improve safety for those people who opt for cosmetic procedures and ensure that the clinics continue to improve the services that they provide. Registered clinics will be able to demonstrate to their patients and the public that they operate to the highest standards. In turn, this offers extra reassurance for patients and the public that the clinics are independently regulated and inspected. We can also take enforcement action if services do not comply with the requirements of the law. Members of the public who are unhappy with the services they have received from a registered independent clinic can make a complaint to Healthcare Improvement Scotland.

We currently have over 100 registered clinics across Scotland and the number is growing regularly. We would advise anyone interested in cosmetic interventions to consult the list of regulated clinics on our website.

If you would like to find out more about registration, please call the Independent Healthcare Enquiry Line on 0131 623 4342, email or visit

Kevin Freeman-Ferguson is head of service review at Healthcare Improvement Scotland




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