Local businesswoman calls for tighter regulations governing laser treatments

Laser practitioner Hazel Barrett, Founder of Northampton Laser Clinic, has seen a recent rise in the number of patients visiting her Wellingborough Road based business, some left scarred after undergoing what they mistakenly thought were laser treatments elsewhere.

Since starting her medical laser career in London’s Harley Street, before launching her long-established business in Northampton, Hazel conducted thousands of treatments safely using medical grade lasers.

With over 25 years’ experience Hazel, a member of the British Medical Laser Association, was instrumental in introducing medical grade laser treatments in this country.

Pioneering practitioner Hazel helped inspectors from the Healthcare Commission, now known as the Care Quality Commission (CQC), to initially introduce regulatory checks in the early 90s, a process which was then rolled out across the country.

Hazel warned, in inexperienced hands, lasers can cause permanent damage and scarring and has lobbied and campaigned at government level for the reintroduction of regulation requirements for laser clinics since changes in the sector several years ago.

Providing laser treatments specialising in hair, thread vein and tattoo removal, Northampton Laser Clinic is CQC registered and Hazel highlights how all establishments using medical grade lasers should also be.

“Unfortunately, laser clinics were deregistered and, up until that point, all laser treatments were carried out only by medical professionals. Deregistration of the sector resulted in this glut of unregistered, unregulated establishments which has resulted in so many burns.

“The equipment is extremely dangerous in inexperienced hands especially if someone has little training – it’s shocking that patients are being misled and having ineffective or damaging treatments elsewhere.”

“I believe the sector will eventually be forced to be regulated again but it will take somebody to be badly disfigured or burned for the government to realise how unwise their decision was,” adds Hazel. “Class 4 laser equipment should not be in the hands of amateurs.

“I fought to stay registered and regulated with the CQC – it’s very reassuring for anyone looking for laser treatments to know they are in safe hands with us. My advice is look at the CQC website to find a clinic that’s registered and regulated. My view is even if they don’t attend our clinic just make sure they go to a CQC registered clinic.”

Hazel highlighted how numerous patients visiting her clinic have thought they were having laser treatments previously elsewhere when they have actually had IPL (intense pulsed light) treatments.

Hazel added: “IPL shouldn’t be mistaken with laser treatment; it is not the same treatment and no way near as effective. Some places claim to offer laser treatments when it’s IPL, it’s unfair and misleading. Northampton Laser Clinic is all about providing patient centred care with a fully informed consultation, so patients understand the treatments which are affordable for everybody.”

Northampton Laser Clinic. 293 Wellingborough Road, Northampton NN1 4EW Tel: 01604 601777 www.northamptonlaserclinic.co.uk