Inject and Protect, by Dr Josh Berkowitz

Inject and Protect, by Dr Josh Berkowitz

At a time when beauty businesses are working harder than ever to hold their market share and remain profitable, the introduction of cosmetic medical services is viewed by man beauty salon owners as a welcome value-added service.

If you keep an eye on the beauty and health news, you may have seen in recent weeks the BBC London investigation in which a Harley Street doctor was exposed for encouraging nurses to order potentially dangerous Botox drugs in one person’s name for use on another. Even worse, the doctor prescribed it over the ‘phone for nurse practitioners around the UK to inject into their patients, without him personally assessing each patients suitability for the treatment via a face-to-face consultation. This practice is called ‘remote prescribing’ and should only ever happen in extreme emergency circumstances.

Know the prescriber

That doctor has now been suspended pending a review by the General Medical Council (GMC). Soon after seeing the BBC’s undercover report, the GMC announced that it was banning all ‘remote prescribing’ of injectable cosmetic medicines.

Here’s why this news should matter to you: If your salon offers cosmetic injectable treatments, you need to check who prescribes your clients’ drugs and how they conduct their patient consultations. Does the prescriber meet face-to-face with each client before any treatment takes place in your salon to do a clinical assessment of the patient’s suitability for that drug treatment? Do they make prescriptions out in the name of the individual who is to be treated?

Some salon owners think that if a qualified RGN/SRN nurse is doing the injections, then they are working safely and legally. Sadly, that’s not always the case and it needs your careful investigation of the detail to protect your clients and business reputation.

Safe practice

If the nurse who does your salon’s injectable treatments gets the drugs by consulting a doctor via the phone, by email, mail order, video-link, fax or online (such as Skype call), then both the nurse carrying out those injections and the prescriber are breaking the law and are compromising the safety of your clients.

That said, facial injectables such as Botox and dermal fillers are the most commonly available treatments in beauty salons and can be carried out by doctors, dentist or suitably-qualified specialist nurses such as Independent Nurse Prescribers. Working with professionals like these can generate additional revenue streams via referral fee payments or cross-referrals of clients between each practitioner.

Offering injectable treatments within your own salon premises does require private consultation space to be allocated, but both businesses can benefit as each brings to the table a client base and each has the opportunity to market one another’s services. Adding new outsourced treatment services can be a cost-effective way to differentiate your salon and grow your business in a crowded sector.

The key message here is that savvy and responsible beauty salon owners always follow best practice. By ensuring that your suppliers are qualified, fully-insured, working ethically and safely on your premises, you will safeguard both the health of your clients and your business reputation. It’s ironic that I was given the nickname of ‘the ethical face of aesthetics’ but, in my experience, clients want to give their repeat custom to credible, safe and ethical practitioners.


  1. Ask your practitioner for paperwork/certificate evidence that they are qualified and fully-insured.
  2. Only qualified medical doctors, dentists and Independent Nurse Prescribers are able to prescribe and inject any drug without supervision, including Botox and fillers. Independent Prescriber Nurses are qualified nurses who have also passed the Masters level additional qualification, V300 Independent and Supplementary Prescribing.
  3. Nurses who don’t hold the Independent Nurse Prescriber qualification can still legally inject the drug only when supervised by an on-site doctor.
  4. Ensure that every client has a clinical assessment with the person prescribing the drugs that are to be injected.
  5. Your prescriber must carry out consultations face-to-face with each patient before any drug is injected.