Healthcare Inspectorate Wales: Laser treatment concerns
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.
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.
Cases highlighted in the report:
- "A number of regulatory breaches" at a parlour in Caerleon, which had still not addressed safety issues over the use of equipment first highlighted in an inspection five years before - it has now stopped doing laser treatments
- Another in Cathays, Cardiff has stopped doing IPL for hair removal and skin rejuvenation after inspectors found issues including safe use of equipment, training and infection prevention
- A "number of areas for improvement and regulatory breaches" were also found at another clinic in Roath, Cardiff, which agreed to stop laser and IPL treatment until an action plan could be submitted
- At a private clinic based at Llandough Hospital near Cardiff and managed by a GP, inspectors found a series of issues but were told it intended to stop providing laser treatments
- A tattoo removal clinic using lasers in Aberdare also stopped the treatment after the "nature and number of concerns" found during an inspection in January
- One beauty parlour on Anglesey, where cleaning and infection control issues were found and a laser protection adviser had not visited for two years, was asked to stop laser-treating patients until it could satisfy inspectors - it has now done so
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."
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".