Cosmetic Sculpting Clinic tells us their story, and decision-making process behind reopening.
The final weekend of April proved to be a tough one for most throughout the aesthetics industry, as debate surged; fairly equally on both sides, around reopening vs staying closed for aesthetic treatments. Statements were issued, then retracted, and the general consensus we seem to have now settled on is ‘do what is best for yourself and your clients’ – or; so eloquently put by ASAPS, “the right thing to do is never defined by formal agreements, legal contracts, nor by expectations that others have of us.”
Slowly but surely, more medical clinics are reopening and offering limited services. One of these is Cosmetic Sculpting Clinic in Sydney’s Chatswood, who have, for a number of reasons, opted to open for one day per week. They have shared their story around this process with us here at SPA+CLINIC, saying it has been a point of significant contention for the business:
Firstly, the decision to remain open was not taken lightly as there was a great deal of misinformation, confusion and industry pressure around the issue. We certainly wanted to do our part in slowing down the spread of the virus but felt an obligation to our patients, many of whom were undertaking treatment plans which if interrupted would undermine the investment and progress they have made in their care.
The decision was made that we should offer appointments one day a week, prioritising those who require treatments to maintain a current treatment plan and are at risk of compromising their results. An example would be a patient who is undertaking a course of skin treatments, which have been timed based on their personal hormone cycle. Missing the appropriate window would result in a lost opportunity to treat the concerns and the patient would not receive the benefits of the results. Similarly, if a patient was undertaking a treatment plan for over-developed masseters and began to regain control of the muscle, then this would allow the muscle to strengthen and cause continued dental damage.
We felt strongly, that if you can go to Bunnings to buy yourself a cactus, then you ought to be able to continue with personal care.
Another factor in our decision to offer treatments was the regulatory climate. The legal advice we received was that the directive required all beauty salons (and other similar businesses) to close. The directive also made a specific reference that medical clinics could remain open, although the example given was physiotherapists. We are a non-surgical cosmetic clinic offering treatments across skin, body and injectables. We employ medical practitioners, we perform medical procedures and we administer restricted medical substances. In every regard, we are a medical clinic. Although, there are some businesses that may appear similar in nature to a medical clinic, they have not been set up with the proper infrastructure to fit into this category and as such, they were required to close under the directive. This confusion led to some resentment in the industry among those who could not understand why some clinics would remain open and others would close. Some clinics were unable to remain open for financial reasons but claimed the PR points and publicly by stating they were closing because they felt it was the right thing to do. In our view, abandoning patients unnecessarily is not the right thing to do.
With the legal support to remain open we turned our minds to mitigating the risks of cross contamination and exposure for both our staff and patients of the clinic. We had all staff undertake the government training course which is offered online. We researched all recommendations from the WHO and other leading health bodies and we came up with a set of requirements and procedures that we felt would adequately mitigate the risk of exposure and contamination to a point where we could feel comfortable to offer appointments.
While it is never possible to achieve 100%, we feel that we have been able to significantly mitigate any risk, certainly more so than the risks currently around going to the grocery store or Bunnings.
We were also comforted by a small number of medical clinics that also remained open through these difficult times. We have received a lot of negativity via our social media pages and even phone calls to the clinic over our decision to remain open, mostly from beauty clinic owners who were unable to remain open and did not understand why we were able to continue to offer treatments. They were very nasty and abusive.
We understand this is an emotional time for business owners and offering limited appointments one day a week has not been a profitable exercise, in fact with the increased procedures and discounts offered we are probably in a worse financial position, but we feel an obligation to our patients and the community to deliver what we consider as vital treatments. We feel that the importance and value to patients of aesthetic treatments, especially at the medical level is often underestimated. We have had patients living with advanced skin conditions thank us for remaining open with tears in their eyes. Unless you have lived with what these people live with and experience their suffering you simply cannot judge what is essential and what is not.
SPA+CLINIC would like to reiterate that, while the industry remains divided, all we can say is this: while we wait for further clear instructions from our state and federal authorities – please be kind to one another. We understand that this is a terribly disorienting time and many practitioners and business owners are utterly confused about how to proceed or in desperate situations, but we will not tolerate inappropriate comments or e-mails. If you have any questions, please leave us a comment below and we will do our best to answer them.