Beauty treatment guidelines 'ready next year'

Minister makes vow after review panel's first meeting, but law could take two years

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 03 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 03 November, 2012, 3:55am

Guidelines setting out risky medical treatments that beauty centres should not provide to clients should be ready by the middle of next year, the health chief said yesterday.

The food and health secretary, Dr Ko Wing-man, made the comment after yesterday's initial meeting of a steering committee that is reviewing the regulation of private health care facilities in the city.

"Once the guidelines have been given, high-risk procedures should be performed only by registered medical practitioners," Ko said. But turning guidelines into new legislation would take at least two years, Ko said.

At its inaugural meeting yesterday, the committee set up four working groups that will research reforms in four key areas of the sector. One of those groups will draw up the guidelines spelling out which procedures should not be offered by beauty centres.

"The working group seeks to address the health risks brought by parlours improperly performing medical procedures under the cover of providing medical beauty services," Ko said.

The guidelines would not close legal loopholes allowing beauty salons to escape responsibility if they employ doctors to do high-risk treatments that harm patients, Ko acknowledged.

"Based on the committee's recommendations, the government will start the legislating procedures. As the proposal will have to be presented to Legco and a consultation period will have to be started, I expect it to last over two years", Ko said.

Meanwhile, a government crackdown on high-risk procedures at beauty centres had so far found no violations of the law since it began its inspections early last month, said health department director Dr Constance Chan Hon-yee.

The crackdown and review began after one woman died and three others were sent to hospital after receiving a blood transfusion "health treatment" at a DR beauty chain centre.