Cosmetic clinics which are members of the Joint Council for Cosmetic Practitioners (JCCP), will now need to screen patients for mental health problems. After meeting with NHS England, the JCCP agreed to include the new measures within its practice.

The move comes as an increasing number of young people suffering from mental health issues, turn to plastic surgery to attempt to overcome their body hang-ups. Under the new guidelines, cosmetic clinics will screen patients for mental health issues, referring them to the NHS for treatment where necessary.

Quick fix cosmetic procedures don’t help solve mental health issues

The new screening procedure guidelines are set to help those who are psychologically vulnerable.

In particular, patients suffering from conditions such as Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD), often turn to cosmetic surgery in the hope of fixing what they perceive to be wrong. However, in most cases, the perceived physical flaws these patients think they are suffering with, are purely in the mind. This means, even when the appearance is altered, it won’t change how the patient feels about their looks. In some cases, it could even make the condition worse.

A top doctor from the NHS claims cosmetic clinics aren’t doing enough to protect these patients, calling for screening to be introduced.

New measures hope to combat issues early

Experts hope the new measures introduced for members of JCCP will help to combat issues with mental health early on.

If patients are assessed and found to be suffering from mental health conditions, they can be referred to the relevant NHS facilities if required. This will help to ensure more patients are receiving help early on, rather than the NHS being left to pick up the pieces from patients who have undergone surgery which has further impacted their mental health.

The new measures will include practitioners undergoing online training to recognise the symptoms and signs of mental illness.

Government urges all clinics to follow suit

At the moment, only members of JCCP are required to carry out mental health screening. Therefore, the government is urging independent clinics to follow suit.

It’s not just surgical procedures practitioners should screen for either. Doctors claim even non-invasive procedures such as Botox and lip fillers shouldn’t be carried out before screening is completed. This is because a lot of patients suffering from mental health disorders are likely to start by undergoing simple, non-invasive procedures.

All patients need to be aware of the risks

It’s not just patients suffering from mental health issues who need to be aware of the risks of non-invasive procedures. According to statistics, the number of complaints regarding non-surgical procedures has increased by as much as 600% in recent years. This is largely because many patients don’t understand the risks involved.

Overall, these new guidelines have been branded a major step forward, but this still relies on individual clinics and practitioners choosing to adopt these measures. One way for patients to protect themselves is to ensure that their practitioner is a member of an association committed to ensuring patient safety; Mr Nigel Horlock is a member of BAAPS and BAPRAS, the two leading independent plastic surgery associations in the UK.