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Should Dermal Filler be made Prescription only? | Guest Blog

Since the release of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics report in June 2017, there has been a lot of talk and activity around whether dermal fillers should be made prescription only.

Here, Annette Matthews, a member of the SkinViva Trainee Network (having trained with us in Botox and Fillers) shares her side of the argument…

Life as a non-prescribing facial aesthetic practitioner
annette matthews

Hi! My names Annette, I am a Dental Hygienist and Dental Therapist.

I have worked in Dentistry around nine years and qualified from university just over four years ago.

Two years into my qualification, I soon realised I had a keen interest in facial aesthetics, this came from working alongside Dentists and peers whom trained and administered it around me.

It was here I learnt of the rules of prescribers and began to wonder and indeed investigate how I could facilitate this in my own career.

I am in the early stages of my facial aesthetic career and I am lucky to have a quality prescriber working alongside me. I know of others who showed fantastic abilities who came to a stumbling block of prescribing and gave up, this I find very sad.

So, here I am within Dentistry – in my opinion one of the most regulated professions.

Daily, I treat the head and neck area, my intensive training and continual CPD includes facial anatomy and systemic health. I value my clinical skills and endeavour to build upon core and additional knowledge, where I find myself asking “why can I not prescribe again?”

I don’t want a full list of the BNF under my arm and to disappear into the sunset in a sombrero, but the things I need to fulfil my roles safely, surely that is just simple common sense?

Within Dentistry, there are prescribing issues preventing me from doing my job to my full scope. The British Society of Dental Hygienists and Therapists are currently fighting for the right to utilise these items and allow us to fulfil our full remit.

So, I find it all the more frustrating to see this is the case within facial aesthetics too!

Saying it as it is

Some would call biased, but I would hope even the hard working and competent prescribers will agree…

To attend University, qualify and become a prescriber – is this the end of your journey?  For some and not all I would like to add; I have witnessed that it pretty much is.

Their lack of further education and responsibilities of their role has resulted in some poor and somewhat dangerous client experiences.

Those who complete further study and competently perform treatments be it facial aesthetics, dentistry or medicine are they ALL prescribers? We all know the answer to this.

My feeling is it’s not all about the qualification – competency is key.

How can we measure competency?

Do they apply a ‘prescribers’ status in the most effective and responsible way?

How can it be changed and or monitored?

How is it even safe to denote a prescriber and a non-prescriber clinician?

“Annette- you can buy our dermal filler we have special offers just for you, but the Hylase to reverse it needs to be prescribed” … where is the brand and pharmaceutical responsibility in that?

Take for instance, my epi pen. Can someone prescribe me an epi pen to practise safely but with a full reversal kit in place please?… OR shall I not bother and practice dangerously because it’s just ‘easier’? For me not the latter, but do we all think like this?!

Case studies and such are one of the only ways that responsible training providers ascertain that level of understanding and competency.

Then there is this new and exciting level 7 qualification (said in a sarcastic tone whilst rolling my eyes). This all singing and dancing qualification that competent and damn good non-prescribers cannot access. Competent non-prescribers whom have an active and ongoing client base, their own clinics and a highly attained skill base gained from experience with clients and the practical hands on learning required to make an outstanding clinician.

Do I have the answer? No…

Do I have an opinion on the matter? Of course, I do!

I see myself as a competent and skilled non- prescriber, no I don’t know everything – I’m still new to the industry and learning all the time, but one thing I do know is that I personally have the confidence to put my hand up when out of my depth, to accept my scope of practice, increase my skills accordingly and to understand things will not always go my way.

Do prescribers not have these feelings is this why they’re typically allowed to almost dictate what I can and cannot do?

It is not about qualification- competency is key.

From a disgruntled but keen to be heard (non-prescribing) facial aesthetic practitioner.

Annette Matthews of {me}:Aesthetics

What do you think? Should dermal filler be made prescription only? We want to hear your argument. Comment below. 

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