The South African Association of Health & Skincare Professionals (SAAHSP) has submitted letters to the Ministers of Health and Trade and Industry objecting to the Allied Health Professions Council of South Africa’s (AHPCSA) moves to open a sub-register that would require compulsory registration of ‘Non-Therapeutic Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Massage’.
Should such a sub-register be implemented, all beauty therapists, skincare therapists and somatologists who perform these skills would have to register with the AHPCSA and would only be allowed to perform these services in registered practices, and not salons or spas.
The SAAHSP letter to the Minister of Health, Mr Aaron Motsoaledi, reads: “We understand that the AHPCSA Act and regulations are promulgated to control the Allied Health Professions, not the Beauty Industry. The Act contains restraints and restrictions pertaining to medical codes of practice, retail sales and advertising. Our members do not belong in the AHPC field due to their studies and practise being different to those taught and practised by AHPC Practitioners.
“Should this sub-register be implemented, this could lead to a total destruction of our Profession which is made up of SMME businesses which predominantly employ previously disadvantaged woman who are responsibly raising families.
“We support this statement based on facts that:
• If registered, hence holding a practice number with AHPCSA, our Massage, Aromatherapy and Reflexology trained therapists would be unable to practise their skills in Beauty Salons and Spas due to these businesses not being medically registered. • Aromatherapy, Reflexology and Massage treatments have been safely practiced by Beauty and Skincare Therapists for many more years than the AHPCSA has been in existence, without a practice number, making no health claims and referring our clients. • Our members refer their clients on to the Allied Health or Medical professionals. They do not diagnose, make claims to cure or treat ‘patients’. • Employment would be compromised leading to Beauty Salons and Spas closing at a rapid rate with impending unemployment becoming a huge issue. • Cosmetics and Aromatherapy oil suppliers would be negatively affected leading to a downward cascading impact on our stakeholder businesses – this Beauty Industry being one of the largest industries in South Africa.
” SAAHSP President Menna Kleine reports that she has received notification from the Department of Health confirming receipt of the SAAHSP letter and is awaiting confirmation of receipt from the Minister of Trade and Industry.
Professional Beauty contacted the AHPCSA to get their perspective on the issue. AHPCSA Chairperson Dr Craig Wright responded thus: “Registration of persons practising certain healthcare professions and the setting of standards for education and training in the various professions are primary functions of this statutory health council (AHPCSA). It is a matter of serious concern when persons, who are not registered under this Council, practise health care professions that resort under the ambit of this Council, without proper education and training. This poses a risk to the health of the public as such persons do not have proper legal oversight and members of the public do not have proper recourse should problems arise.
“In the case of the therapeutic professions, the AHPCSA takes the view that there is no difference between aromatherapy, reflexology, massage and therapeutic aromatherapy, therapeutic reflexology, therapeutic massage, since all such therapies are therapeutic by definition, and that the provisions of the Act and Regulations with regard to the professions registered under the AHPCSA are applicable. It is not the intention of the AHPCSA to regulate beauty therapists, skincare therapists or somatologists but to ensure that any person who is engaged in therapeutic interventions relating to the practice of aromatherapy, reflexology and massage therapy, have the correct statutory oversight, for public protection reasons.
“In order to clarify this matter, a submission has been made to the Minister of Health. Any decision made by the Minister will, in due course, as required by law to be published for comment and all stakeholders, including the SAAHSP, will be able to provide input. This was communicated to the SAAHSP during a recent meeting between the AHPCSA Registrar and this organisation. We welcome stakeholder interaction and the SAAHSP, or any other stakeholder, is welcome to engage with the AHPCSA further in this matter, through the office of the Registrar.
”There has been some speculation in the beauty industry as to whether the AHPCSA’s motivation to create this sub register is due to alleged dwindling numbers in its members / registrations. Professional Beauty posed this question to the AHPCSA but did not receive a response.
Concerned stakeholders in the beauty industry have created the ‘Save Our Beauty Sector’ (SOBS) campaign with a Facebook page to generate awareness around, and support for, the issue. For more information logon to: https://www.facebook.com/SOBS1485/.