Wales

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales: Laser treatment concerns

Laser treatment Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption HIW is responsible for the registration and inspection of clinics, parlours and hospitals which carry out laser treatment

Significant areas for improvement are needed at clinics and beauty parlours offering laser treatment, Healthcare Inspectorate Wales has warned.

Lasers and intense pulsed light (IPL) are used for hair, spot and tattoo removal and skin treatments.

Six of the 19 premises inspected in the last year were asked to voluntarily stop providing treatments until concerns had been addressed.

HIW found issues which it thought could "potentially pose risks" to patients.

Five of the six have decided to stop providing laser treatment.

The majority of treatments are provided within beauty salons, clinics and tattoo parlours, with 73 registered with HIW.

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Media captionSpecialist nurse Jodie Grove explains to India Pollock what laser treatment involves - and what to look out for

The inspections in 2015-16 included several clinics and beauty parlours in Cardiff, three in Swansea and two on Anglesey.

Although HIW - in an annual summary of its work in this area - said most patients were "very satisfied" with their experiences, it found "a significant number of areas for improvement across the services we inspected".

Despite the clinics and salons getting a month's notice of inspections, shortcomings were still found.

Many were asked to improve areas like guides to patients and procedural and policy issues; some were not properly aware of regulations or were told to update staff training.

Image copyright Thinkstock

Cases highlighted in the report:

Alun Jones, director of inspection, regulation and investigations at HIW said the five which had now de-registered "felt the requirements of the regulations were too much of them so they withdrew their service".

"The six and final service was able to reassure us that it had taken the necessary action to provide safe care."

Dr Kate Chamberlain, chief executive of HIW said: "It was concerning to find that not only did many of the services we inspected lack systems to ensure they are complying with the regulations, most lacked understanding of their responsibilities and how this applied to the services they provided."

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Media captionAlun Jones said clinics and salons are not taking regulations seriously enough

Last year, BBC Wales found the number of cosmetic laser clinics being investigated for not being registered had increased significantly.

A total of 14 of these premises have now registered or are in the process of registering and another 11 are still being investigated.

HIW has promised follow-up inspections for those it saw in the last year and urged those in the industry "to learn from the findings in this report".

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