Consultation on non-surgical cosmetic procedures

The BAcC constantly monitors government consultations for those that might have a bearing on the acupuncture profession.

In September, the Government started a consultation on licensing of non-surgical cosmetic procedures. The first phase of this consultation invited feedback on establishing the scope of interventions to be included.

Acupuncture is currently specifically excluded from the consultation. Therefore, originally, we did not anticipate submitting a response to this consultation. However, in early October, I had a meeting with a member of the London Special Treatments Working Group (LSTWG) regarding issues related to acupuncture. They recommended the BAcC submit a response. On closer inspection, there was scope for us to respond with the recommendation that acupuncture should be included. So, with the Professional Recognition Working Group (PRWG) and Governing Board lay director, Julie Stone, we wrote and submitted a response. You can read our response and the reasons we put forward here. We contacted the Professional Standards Authority (PSA) and they updated their response to the consultation on non-surgical cosmetic procedures to include the issue of clear definitions (see 3.17).

We hope that acupuncture will be included in the next stage of this ongoing consultation. The current licensing arrangements for acupuncture in the UK are often applied differently by each local authority. Acupuncture is currently included with tattooing, body piercing and electrolysis. This situation is, in our opinion, out of date and can cause problems for our members, as was the case during the pandemic. We believe acupuncture should be licensed with the understanding that it is a healthcare profession.

This consultation on non-surgical cosmetic procedure may provide an opportunity for a licensing change and we’ll update you on progress as it happens.

Ian Appleyard
Research & Policy Manager
December 2023