GP sets up tattoo removal service

Derby GP Dr Ben Mills set up a tattoo removal service at a shop near his practice after receiving repeated requests for advice from patients.

Before and after laser tatoo removal (photo: Lynton)
Before and after laser tatoo removal (photo: Lynton)

'I saw a couple of women in the same week asking: "Where can I get this tattoo removed?",' Dr Mills, pictured right, told GP. 'I had no idea, so I looked into it and became aware of how poor provision was.'

Dr Mills said he found it difficult to find information for patients about the quality of services available.

By setting up the Tattoo Removal Company with fellow GP Dr Alison Whitehouse, he said he aimed to offer a safe option for laser treatment.

Changes to the Care Standards Act in 2010 exempted laser skin treatments from regulation by the CQC.

Since then, the range of providers offering laser treatment for tattoos has increased, Dr Mills said.

'Some people have a day's training and set up as a laser treatment provider, with inadequate machines, without any medical background.

'They give a photocopied sheet of a medical questionnaire, with no discussion of risk, which would be normal before a medical intervention.'

He added: 'You need to be able to exclude a number of existing skin conditions or medications that would contraindicate tattoo removal and can make skin more sensitive.'

Dr Mills also works as a forensic medical examiner and as medical director at the Burton Addiction Centre in Burton-on-Trent.

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