Guidance for doctors who offer cosmetic interventions



The legal definition of FGM is very broad and may include procedures such as genital tattoos and piercing. It may be helpful to refer to guidance issued by government and the medical royal colleges, such as FGM Mandatory reporting duty (accessed 7 March 2016).


Department of Health (England) (2013) Review of the Regulation of Cosmetic Interventions. See also the Scottish Government report of the Scottish Cosmetic Interventions Expert Group. (2015)


You can read all of our existing guidance on our website.


You can access advice on effective clinical supervision from sources such as the Care Quality Commission’s Regulation 18 guidance (accessed 30 April 2021) 


Medicines and medical devices in the UK are regulated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (accessed 7 March 2016).


The Private Healthcare Information Network (PHIN) collects and publishes surgical information about independent healthcare to help patients make informed choices (accessed 7 March 2016).

See our Guidance for doctors acting as responsible consultants or clinicians.

See the Royal College of Anaesthetists’ Safe sedation practice for healthcare procedures (2021) (accessed 30 April 2021).


See Montgomery v Lanarkshire Health Board (Scotland) [2015] UKSC 11.


See our guidance 0–18 years: guidance for all doctors for more information about the general principles you should follow, in addition to this guidance, when you treat children and young people.


The Botulinum Toxin and Cosmetic Fillers (Children) Act 2021 makes it an offence to provide or arrange these treatments for people under the age of 18, unless approved by a doctor for an assessed medical need and administered by a doctor, nurse, dentist or pharmacist. The Act applies in England only.


See paragraphs 12 - 13 of 0–18 years: guidance for all doctors for guidance on assessing best interests.


‘Parents’ are people with parental responsibility.


See our Guidance for doctors acting as responsible consultants or clinicians


'Colleagues' include anyone a doctor works with, in and outside their team, whether or not they are also doctors.


See our guidance Delegation and referral.


The Committee of Advertising Practice (2013) Marketing of Cosmetic Interventions (accessed 7 March 2016).


Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Enforcement notice: Advertising Botox and other botulinum toxin injections (accessed 30 April 2021).


In this guidance, ‘personal information’ means information from which individuals can be identified either in itself or in combination with other available information. ‘Disclosure’ means the provision or passing of information about a patient to anyone other than the patient, regardless of the purpose. Sharing information within healthcare teams is a form of disclosure, as is providing access to patients’ records.


These principles are aligned with the Caldicott principles for information governance within health and social care.


Patients are also entitled to access their health records under data protection law. Article 15 of the General Data Protection Regulation gives patients the right to access their personal information, although exemptions apply in certain circumstances. Most exemptions are contained in the Data Protection Act 2018. For example, an exemption applies if providing subject access to information about an individual’s physical or mental health or condition would be likely to cause serious harm to them or to another person’s physical or mental health or condition. You also do not have to supply a patient with information about another person or that identifies another person as the source of the information, unless that other person consents or it is reasonable in the circumstances to supply the information without their consent. See the Information Commissioner’s Office technical guidance, Dealing with subject access requests involving other people’s information (Information Commissioner’s Office, 2014).