The question of whether we should be treating friends and family was raised by @the_bloom_clinic on instagram recently. Most of those in Aesthetics are encouraged to start out by treating friends and family and, let’s face it, who else is going to let a newly qualified injector loose on their face. Supervised mentorship is an expensive commitment before you’ve managed to cover your initial training costs so what should the newly qualified injector do to get experience? What about those successful practitioners who trial new treatments on their staff members, friends and family?
Arguments against prescribing for and treating those close to us are based upon an asserted inability to be objective when treating those close to us and the risk associated with not having access to their medical history.
Whilst the law allows prescribing for family members, the GMC states that you must avoid prescribing for anyone you have a close personal relationship with but if you do, you should record the reason it was necessary for you to prescribe and also share that information with their GP.
In Aesthetics, we don’t ordinarily share information with our patients’ GPs nor do we have access to their medical records so are we guilty of poor practice? That can’t be the case. I’m not aware of any Aesthetic Practitioner being censured for prescribing or treating those close to them and given that this is a daily occurrence, it seems like there’s a blind eye being turned. Aesthetic pharmacies regularly see prescriptions for patients with the same address or surname as their prescriber yet we don’t hear about anyone getting flagged to their regulator.
There’s also the fact that fillers aren’t prescription only medicines (yet). I don’t think that it can be argued that issuing a prescription to save the VAT, rather than buying without prescription affects our objectivity.
Perhaps in the same way that regulatory bodies have recognised that Aesthetic Medicine is unique when it comes to remote prescribing, there is a need for them to formally recognise that prescribing and treating those close to us is acceptable. Alternatively, does lack of objectivity make this a line that should not be crossed?
Let me know what you think.