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Infection control in tattoo shops needs to be tightened up, says RCN

College backs call by Royal Society for Public Health for UK-wide rules on tattoo parlours

College backs call by Royal Society for Public Health for UK-wide rules on tattoo parlours


Picture: PA

 

Tattoo parlours’ infection control rules should be overhauled to reduce health risks and the burden on health professionals and the NHS, the RCN said.

A survey found a fifth of people who had a tattoo, cosmetic piercing, acupuncture or electrolysis in the past five years experienced side effects such as burning or swelling. 

One in ten of the 886 people surveyed by the Royal Society for Public Health (RSPH), who experienced problems, needed medical treatment.

Standardised licensing requirements

The RCN is backing calls for UK-wide standards to govern anyone offering tattoos, piercings or other treatments that compromise the skin barrier.

‘Local authorities must ensure inspection standards are consistent, and health services do not pick up the costs of poor practice’

Rose Gallagher, RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control

There is no standard legal infection control requirement across the UK for anyone offering tattoos, piercings or other treatments that compromise the skin barrier, the RSPH said. It wants England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to follow the example of Wales in making possession of an infection control qualification part of its licensing requirements.

RCN professional lead for infection prevention and control, Rose Gallagher, echoed the RSPH's calls for end to regional variation in licensing.

She said: ‘Local authorities must ensure inspection standards are consistent, and health services do not pick up the costs of poor practice. To protect the public and reduce burden on health professionals, regulation must be tightened.’ 

‘NHS shouldn’t be left to pick up the pieces’

The RSPH report, Skins and Needles, also calls for infections linked to special procedures to be included in the list of notifiable diseases that must be reported to local councils or local health protection teams.

Commenting on the findings, NHS medical director Stephen Powis said: ‘The NHS will always be there for anyone who needs it, but shouldn't be left to pick up the pieces from dodgy tattoo parlours who don't take infection control seriously.


Further reading

The Skins and Needles report


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