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Q: Could you please advise me on a regulated and approved laser practitioner
A: Non-surgical laser treatments are currently not regulated by the UK government, meaning that there are no restrictions on who can perform laser tattoo removal treatments or what equipment/premises they use. In response to this, we have published the BMLA Essential Standards. These have been created with experts in laser safety and practice as a benchmark outlining what is required of a laser clinic. Although the BMLA is not in a position to endorse a particular practitioner, this guidance may be helpful for you to ask the right questions to find a safe one.

Q: I have had a bad experience of laser treatment. What can I do about this?
A: If you feel that your negative experience has been caused by malpractice or negligence, then it may be appropriate to report this to the clinic or hospital where the treatment was undertaken. If you remain dissatisfied with the response to the complaint, you may wish to approach the practitioner’s governing body (e.g. GMC, NMC or HCPC). In addition, if the practice is CQC registered, then you can contact the Care Quality Commission directly with your concern. Alternatively, your local council or citizens advice bureau may be able to help. If your concern is around the way that the treatment was marketed, then you may wish to contact the Advertising Standards Agency.

Q: I am seeking approval for a training course for laser practitioners. Are you able to help?
A: Our laser and light source training approval scheme is provided free of charge. You can find out more about this, including our guidelines for course approval and a list of approved courses, on our approved courses page.

Q: What training do I require to deliver laser treatments?
A: The level of training required depends on the procedure and indications that you wish to treat. A good general guide is provided by Health Education England and can be found here. In addition to training, it is also important to have access to safe equipment and facilities. More details about this can be found in the BMLA Essential Standards.

Q: Can you recommend a laser or IPL manufacturer?
A: The BMLA is a charitable organisation and does not endorse any particular laser manufacturer. We recommend that any lasers or intense light device meets the relevant European or British standards (see our page on laser and IPL standards). Many manufacturers will also be able to offer trials or put you in contact with other users before you commit to buying.

Q: I would like to know how I can be sure that I am protected as much as possible against possible laser plume hazard from hair removal and other procedures. What should I look for in the spec for face masks and for smoke evacuators when dealing with laser hair and also with laser ablative e.g. CO2 and tattoo treatments?
A: The BMLA does not currently have any official guidance regarding protection from laser plume. A strong evidence base in this area is currently lacking, although ongoing work in the area of laser plume hazards and protection by John Tyrer in Loughborough and also from the international council on surgical plume were presented at the 2017 BMLA conference. In general, it is important to consider the use of localised plume evacuation, masks and general air circulation (in that order). Filtration for plume evacuation systems and for masks used in these settings is usually specified as 0.1 microns filtration at 99.999% efficiency (see, for example, the international standard 60825-8). It is also important to consider the fit of masks and how close the plume evacuation system can be placed as these factors have a significant influence on the amount of plume that the user is exposed to. For tattoo removal, high speed particulates may be ejected during treatment and a mask may also help to protect against such ‘splatter’.

Q: Can you recommend a training course?
A: Please refer to our list of approved training courses published here.

Q: Can you recommend a Laser Protection Advisor or Expert Registered Healthcare Professional?
A: At present, the BMLA does not hold a list of approved Laser Protection Advisors or Expert Registered Healthcare Professionals. We recommend that you check any ERHPs against their professional register (e.g. GMC, NMC or HCPC). There are also registers of approved LPAs and details of the approval requirements on the following websites: RPA2000, Association of Laser Healthcare Professionals. Public Health England operate a certification scheme for their own staff.

Q: When is the next BMLA conference?
A: The next conference that the BMLA will be involved in organising is the Laser Europe conference in Amsterdam, 24th-26th May 2018. The next UK BMLA conference will be held in May 2019.