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Patients or clients?

My Grandma always told me that it takes a strong person to say what everybody else is thinking. Recently I have spoken publicly, and sure enough there has been enough interest in my frustrated ramblings that they have been printed in none other than Aesthetic Medicine Magazine! Thank you to their editor, Anna Dobbie for taking my comments seriously and helping to highlight what is a growing unhealthy trend.

Blurring the lines between 'patients' and 'clients'

SE1 Medical Aesthetics managing director Emma Costello looks at how terminology can blur the boundaries between medical ethics and business.

Although SE1 Medical Aesthetics managing director, Emma Costello is not a healthcare professional, she has been in the medical device industry for just shy of 20 years. Working alongside orthopaedic surgeons, plastic surgeons and aesthetic doctors, she has attended hundreds of scientific exhibitions, conferences and training sessions and has noticed a slip in terminology.

"In the field of medical aesthetics, there is an increasing trend to replace the term ‘patient’ with the word ‘client'," she comments. "It doesn’t seem right to me that experienced healthcare professionals should be referring to a person they medically assess for medical aesthetic procedures as a ‘client’."

A ‘client’ is defined as someone who receives professional services from an organisation or person. "While this definition is not incorrect, as a non-healthcare professional, it blows my mind that someone who studies for all those years would so casually drop the standards," Costello adds. "The only profession in the world having the privilege of using the relationship term for those who they treat as ‘patients’ are those who are trained in healthcare. And what an honour it is, after all of those years of training!"

Patients clients, what do you say?

She feels the use of the term is particularly surprising considering the number of non-medics administering anti-wrinkle treatments.

"It becomes even more astonishing that the term should be dropped when the UK medical aesthetics industry is so warped with the addition of laypersons without a healthcare background or qualification also injecting the general public. This is when the word ‘patient’ becomes critically important as they certainly cannot refer to those who they treat as ‘patients.’ The skill set that develops over many years of training to perfect the patient/doctor/nurse/surgeon/dentist relationship is paramount for a successful outcome."

To read the rest of my thoughts click here, it promises to be insightful as I steer the conversation towards the boundaries between medical ethics and business relationships.


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Thanks for reading,

Emma x

Precious moments of family time!
Emma SE1 Medical Aesthetics London

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