A woman from Porthcawl was exposed in a BBC 1 documentary in July as passing herself off as a midwife and Harley Street-trained cosmetic practitioner.
The investigation by the BBC focused on Vivienne Baker in Wales following reports from some of Baker’s dissatisfied clients. It was quickly established that Baker, who was running clinics from her kitchen, was not a qualified midwife as she had claimed.
The director of one of the companies involved in exposing Baker commented: “Ms Baker has cunningly created a false persona to gain trust and confidence by masquerading as a registered healthcare professional. She has deliberately set out to deceive people, whilst knowingly compromising their health and appearance. It is evident that she has very little knowledge and understanding of the treatments she provides and the products that she uses. It is just sheer luck that her patients have escaped any serious complications.”
Dr Comins of Hans Place Practice in London added: “This is a shocking report and I applaud the BBC for highlighting this issue. Practitioners must be able to reassure clients that they have valid, recognised qualifications and are a member of a respected organisation such as the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, of which I’m a member. Those who are not adequately trained risk causing serious and potentially permanent harm to their clients. There is always a risk with aesthetic medical procedures, no matter how experienced the person carrying it out, and clients need to be reassured that if there is a complication the practitioner has the medical knowledge to be able to manage it.”
Dr Comins MBBS MRCGP FBACD is a fellow of the British College of Aesthetic Medicine, having been president of the college from 2009-2011. He was also part of the cosmetic interventions working group that consulted with the Department of Health to improve standards in the cosmetic industry.