UKAPP at the London ‘Special Practices’ Meeting – 5th September 2019

By Kim Hutchinson (UKAPP Vice President)

The UKAPP were approached by Sarah Jones who works for Public Health Wales ( to ask if we could attend a meeting for the special practices team in London for one of their quarterly meetings.

Sean Powell (UKAPP Secretary at the time, Sean is now our Health Officer) and myself travelled to the ‘big smoke’ to meet with some of the people who implement the health and safety measures that are in place in all tattoo and piercing studios (as well as many beauty, laser and acupuncture studios – collectively called ‘Special Practices’).

After a day in the city where we explored the gemstone exhibition at the Natural History Museum (if you haven’t seen it, try and go, it is incredible – and you have never seen two people more excited than a couple of piercers in a room filled with gemstones and natural stones!) and finding our way around by tube – a slightly alien concept to two northerners! We arose bright eyed and bushy tailed and ready to meet with people who make a difference to how our industry is policed.

We found the venue and were welcomed into the meeting, Sarah joined us shortly after we arrived and we were introduced to the people attending. First up was a presentation from Duncan Stephenson from the RSPH (more on their incredible work here: I had prepared a short presentation about the UKAPP and our mission and operation – we discussed WHY we felt the need was there for our organisation to form, our membership requirements and why we feel they should be implemented. There was a short Q&A session at the end of our presentation which I feel was well received and Sean and I clarified several aspects of the organisation to eager ears!

The aim of the meeting was to discuss implementing the changes made to ‘special practices’ licencing/registration in Wales – essentially ‘raising the bar’ to make sure anyone carrying out this type of procedure has the relevant knowledge and training where applicable to do their job in a safe manner. This is to reduce the risk of harm to the public, and to eliminate potential hazards which are a direct result of incorrect knowledge and appropriate training. One of the issues raised by the RSPH presentation is that many members of the public did not know that these procedures require a registration with the local council, and even more worrying, that first aid and bloodborne pathogens training is NOT a requirement!

The RSPH and UKAPP have a similar mission – to keep the public safe. While RSPH are a broader spectrum of projects and cover everything from online safety to the accessibility of public toilets, and UKAPP are – of course – specific to piercing, we both share a goal!

After the meeting, Sean and I met with Sarah Jones to debrief, and we were overjoyed to hear that the group were grateful for our help and are very aware that they can liase with us if they need any industry-specific assistance. This also led to some exciting discussions about future training opportunities.

All in all, a very worthwhile and progressive meeting, wherein absolutely no-one broke their keto diet…