BBC News

Liverpool 'bogus' nurse Marie McGinty running Botox clinic

By Claire Savage
5 Live Investigates

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image captionThe Nursing and Midwifery Council has no record of Maria McGinty being registered with them

A bogus nurse is running a cosmetic clinic offering Botox and dermal filler treatments, according to a BBC investigation.

Marie McGinty describes herself as an aesthetics nurse practitioner, nurse prescriber and midwife.

But according to the Nursing and Midwifery Council, there is no record of Ms McGinty being registered.

She has failed to respond to repeated requests from the BBC to comment on the claims that she is unqualified.

In 2012, Marie McGinty, 49, established Vital Cosmetics Liverpool Limited and, according to its promotional material, runs clinics throughout the North West and North Wales.

She offers "skin rejuvenation" by using anti-wrinkle injections and dermal fillers. One of the compounds she uses is Botox - a powerful drug that can only be given on prescription following an assessment by a doctor, dentist or nurse prescriber.

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image captionMarie McGinty has not responded to requests for a comment

The BBC 5 Live Investigates programme has spoken to one woman who went to Marie McGinty for Botox injections and dermal fillers - and was left with unsightly blemishes and hard lumps around her eyes from the fillers.

The woman - who wishes to remain anonymous - said: "I could see instantly it was lumpy, then a few hours later it was almost like blisters. It progressively got worse and then it didn't improve and looked like a mess.

"It affected my work, I didn't leave my flat. I hated looking in the mirror and had to hide my hair across the face.

"It looked abnormal, my sister said I looked like a freak."

In the end, she went to see a cosmetic doctor in Harley Street - Dr Vincent Wong - to get the damage caused by the dermal fillers corrected.

He said: "The person who carried out this work may not have been trained, simply because this is a very delicate region and if not done properly may have serious consequences."

Ms McGinty gave the lady Botox injections in her front room.

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image captionMarie McGinty established Vital Cosmetics Liverpool in 2012, which features a Facebook page

Dr Wong added: "With Botox, once it is injected it cannot be removed and if it's injected into the wrong area it can cause serious damage."

Marie McGinty told a potential client she was a nurse prescriber.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council has no record of Marie McGinty being registered currently or in the past.

The titles of "registered nurse" and "midwife" are protected, meaning anyone falsely claiming to be a registered nurse or midwife is breaking the law.

Only registered nurses can become nurse prescribers - and have to be on the nursing register.

The BBC does not know where Ms McGinty is sourcing the Botox from. But the 5 live Investigates programme was able to buy it from a supplier in China, with no questions asked.

When Botox is sourced through unofficial channels, there is a risk it could be counterfeit.

The BBC was able to buy the supposed Botox for around £50 including shipping.

A small vial of white powder arrived with paperwork for dermal filler.

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image captionThe BBC was able to buy a substance supposed to be Botox for £50 from a company in China

The company in China was asked if it was actually Botox.

"Of course, it is Botox, we use (dermal filler) documents to send the goods, as customs will check Botox, thanks for your kind understanding," they said.

Anyone can legally inject fillers so campaign groups like Save Face have tried to set up their own accredited list of 300 registered doctors, dentists and nurses.

"Treatments like fillers have almost become every day beauty treatments for many people, but, in the wrong hands, they are potentially dangerous procedures," said its director Ashton Collins.

"Many people we help have been too ashamed or embarrassed to come forward and speak out when a treatment has gone wrong."

The British Association of Dermatologists wants a mandatory register of practitioners.

And a Department of Health spokesman said: "Patients should always have confidence that their care is provided by a qualified individual and we strongly advise anyone choosing non-surgical treatment to check training and experience."

Five live Investigates also found that Ms McGinty's Vital Cosmetics Liverpool Limited mobile number links her to sites where escorts advertise "personal services".

The BBC contacted Marie McGinty three times by post and email over a month. She was also telephoned a number of times on her mobiles, with no success.

She said she would provide a statement after she spoke to her solicitor.

There has been no response and she has since moved from her registered business address.

BBC 5 Live Investigates is broadcast on BBC 5 Live on Sunday 31 May at 11:00 BST.