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Welsh cosmetic laser clinics investigated.

THE number of cosmetic laser clinics in Wales being investigated for not being registered has increased significantly.

Healthcare Inspectorate Wales (HIW) currently checks premises providing non-surgical laser or Intense Pulsed Light (IPL) skin procedures to see if they are registered and is also urging the government to look at the risks of mobile laser services, botox and dermal fillers.

HIW has visited 24 premises since April 2015 after reports they were dodging registration and is currently investigating a further 37.

In 2014/15, it followed up just 10 reports of unregistered premises. Requests for premises to be checked usually come from registered practitioners or members of the public.

Registration with HIW costs around £500 per year and is based on inspection of premises and equipment.

However, it does not include an assessment of the practitioner's training or ability.

Laser and IPL treatment are commonly used for treating skin blemishes or hair or tattoo removal.

HIW director of inspection, regulation and investigations, Alun Jones, said that since 2011 there has been a 70 per cent increase in registered laser services.

He added: "We've become aware of more services which aren't registered and that's a criminal offence which can lead to a fine. They sometimes dodge regulation, don't want to pay the fee, don't want the scrutiny, but sometimes they're naïve and don't realise what's required of them under the regulations."

HIW also wants a national register of non-surgical cosmetic practitioners.

Locum consultant dermatologist Maria Gonzalez, who works in the NHS and private practice, said she had come across several patients who had suffered severe burns and scarring during laser treatment.

She said: "It's about how you manage those complications - about recognising there's a problem and stopping before it becomes a major disaster."

The Public Health (Wales) Bill includes specific proposals for a licensing scheme for providers of tattoo, acupuncture, body piercing and electrolysis, which will be run by local authorities.