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[WATCH] Health ministry rolls out tattoo consultation but does Chris Fearne have one?

With more than 200 licensed tattoo parlours, the Health Ministry wants to introduce specialised training on health and safety for tattoo artists • MaltaToday also asked minister Chris Fearne whether he had a tattoo

yannick_pace
Yannick Pace
14 November 2017, 2:27pm
Health Minister Chris Fearne has unveiled a public consultation on new rules for tattoo artists
Health Minister Chris Fearne has unveiled a public consultation on new rules for tattoo artists
Health ministry rolls out tattoo consultation but does Chris Fearne have one?
Tattoo artists will soon be required to undergo specialised training to ensure that all operators are aware of the potential health risks involved in the practice.

Speaking at the launch of a month-long public consultation on the new rules, health minister Chris Fearne said that the number of licensed tattooists or "permanent make-up artists", had increased at an almost exponential rate in recent years, with there currently being 200 in operation and many more awaiting approval. 

"There is practically a tattooist in every locality," said Fearne. "They're all licensed, but there is currently no framework for one to become a tattooist."

The minister explained that the current system essentially only required the signature of another tattooist, adding that "it's not about whether you can draw or not but about health and safety."

The ministry, he said, were currently looking at a 45-hour course that would cover topics such as the use of disposables, sterilisation, skin preparation, obtaining consent, cleanliness, reporting difficulties and maintaining documentation.

Superintendent of Public Health Charmaine Gauci said that the measure was intended to protect public health. 

She said that while many might not necessarily think of tattooing as a health issue, there were always risks associated with puncturing the skin, including the possible transmission of infections like Hepatitis B, Hepatitis A and HIV to name a few.

"This is why we need tattooists to follow the principles needed to maintain public health," she said.

She explained that under the envisaged regulations, potential tattooists would be required to be taught the course by an established tattooist who had been operating for at least five years, as well as by a healthcare professional. 

Gauci emphasised the importance of tattoo artists being aware of how to use and dispose of needles and how skin should be prepared to minimize infection, as well as the general cleanliness of the establishment.

The qualification, she said, would also require tattooists to protect themselves by having the necessary vaccinations.

Finally, an alert system would also be set up and operators will be trained to inform authorities of any hazardous products or issues they might come across. It would also facilitate informing tattooists about issues countered abroad, she added.

yannick_pace
Yannick joined MaltaToday as a journalist in 2016. His main areas of interest are politics...