Giving the gift of cosmetic surgery this Valentines

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, partners may wish to gift their loved ones with an aesthetic treatment. A wife might fancy puckering up her pout with lip fillers, whereas a husband may wish to fix his frown lines with a spot of Botox. If a loved one has been dreaming of having an aesthetic treatment but can’t necessarily afford it, cosmetic gifting can be a life-enhancing, thoughtful gesture. However, for the woman who is happy with her lip size or for the man who has never been bothered by his wrinkles, an aesthetic gift could be perceived as insulting and one that the recipient may not actually want at all.

With this in mind, what factors should an aesthetic practitioner consider if they are to offer vouchers in their clinic, to ensure they are doing so as safely and effectively as possible?

Patient consultation

It’s important not to downplay any risks that might occur when undertaking aesthetic treatments that have been gifted, and it needs to be the patient’s own personal decision as to whether they go ahead with a treatment; they should not feel under pressure to undertake a treatment simply because they are using a gift voucher. A thorough consultation is crucial for all patients purchasing treatments, with or without a gift voucher. Besides actually being in the right head space for surgery, a patient should also be a suitable physical candidate, so it’s up to the practitioner to decide whether or not they will accept refunds if the patient turns out to be the wrong patient for the treatment. This should be highlighted in writing to the buyer of the gift voucher prior to purchase. It is also important to understand best practice for obtaining patient consent, so that the patient is fully aware of any potential complications – you can take a look at our top 10 tips

Choice is power

Rather than gift specific treatments, it is generally better to gift an amount which a patient can use for whatever treatment they desire following consultation. That way you can be confident that their choice of treatment is their own. Following the consultation, it’s advisable to give the patient time to decide that they definitely want the treatment. According to the General Medical Council (GMC), ‘You must give the patient enough time and information to reach a voluntary and informed decision about whether to go ahead with an intervention’.

Promotion

Register of cosmetic providers, Treatments You Can Trust (TYCT), advises that gift vouchers that cover part, or all, the cost of non-surgical cosmetic treatments, may be advertised in the published media and also on the provider’s own website, as well as point of sale literature in the clinics. However, guidelines from the GMC state that ‘You must not use promotional tactics (for example, but not limited to, discounts, time-limited deals, refer a friend offers, gift vouchers or loyalty cards) in ways that could encourage people to make an untimely or ill-considered decision.’

The patient comes first

Gift vouchers can be an effective way of increasing revenue and potentially gaining new patients, however it’s the practitioner’s responsibility to decide whether the patient is suitable for treatment, and their wellbeing must always come first.