A SKIN, body and laser clinic has become the first of its kind to become regulated by a Government health organisation watchdog.

The Care Quality Commission oversees health, hospitals and care homes for the Government.

Now Carlisle-based VL Aesthetics is now also regulated by the body - a first for such a business in Cumbria.

It means that clients using the clinic for medical procedures, including Botox, dermal fillers and lip enhancement, can be confident that it works to the same strict standards as a hospital or GP surgery.

Vanessa Brown, owner of VL Aesthetics clinic, said: “We have always worked to the standards required by the CQC, but in an industry that is largely unregulated, we wanted to be fully and independently assessed.

“It sends out a very clear message to our clients that we operate at the highest standards.”

To become regulated by the CQC a business must show evidence of its policies and procedures; everything from health and safety protocols to how a sterile clinic is managed.

Vanessa added: “Many people don’t realise that injectable procedures, such as Botox or dermal fillers, are medical procedures. They should only be carried out by a medical practitioner, in a sterile clinical environment, not in someone’s home or in a hair salon, which poses a huge risk of infection. It’s about making the right decision as a customer.”

VL Aesthetics has seven treatment rooms, including a new clinical area opening in December, and has a specialist team of doctors, nurses, nutritionists and aestheticians.

The CQC registration means that the clinic is now permitted to carry out absorbable polydioxanone (PDO) thread procedures, which are regulated under surgical procedures by the CQC. In the industry, this is considered to be the most effective facelift without going under the knife.

Vanessa said: “We want to raise the standards in aesthetic medicine and we strive to become a centre of excellence. I expect much tighter regulations to be introduced within the next few years, bringing the aesthetic industry under the same scrutiny as other medical professions. This accreditation sets us ahead of the game in Cumbria.”

VL Aesthetics have also been Save Face accredited since 2019. Save Face is a national register of approved practitioners, which is accredited by Professional Standards Authority, The Department of Health, NHS England and The Care Quality Commission.