Society welcomes NSW Review of Cosmetic Surgery Regulations

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons welcomes the NSW Health Department’s release of a Discussion Paper to consider whether there needs to be tighter regulation of cosmetic surgery.

“We applaud Minister Jillian Skinner for this timely initiative and look forward to contributing to the Discussion Paper which we hope will lead to legislation that helps protect the safety of the increasing number of consumers seeking cosmetic procedures,” says Associate Professor Hugh Bartholomeusz, President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons has, for many years, called for nationally-consistent regulation of cosmetic surgery, particularly around the use of anaesthetic in unlicensed facilities, arguing the current lack of oversight poses an unacceptable risk to patient safety.

“We are concerned that increasingly sophisticated procedures, from breast augmentation to face lifts, requiring high levels of anaesthesia have been able to be performed in unlicensed facilities – both clinics and doctor’s rooms – which aren’t subject to the same level of oversight as hospitals. This puts patients at risk if complications occur, particularly when ‘conscious sedation’ becomes ‘unconscious sedation.’”

“It is critical that basic standards be required of all facilities where this sort of surgery is undertaken and the simplest mechanism would be to subject them to the same requirements as day procedure centres/day hospitals licensed under the Private Health Facilities Act,” says Associate Professor Bartholomeusz.

“This would help ensure that appropriate standards in relation to the safety of the premises and the clinical care was subject to the same quality controls and audit requirements, including credentialing of clinical staff and ensuring resuscitation equipment is available where surgery is performed using more than local anaesthetic.”

“We can only reiterate that cosmetic surgery is not trivial surgery. Anaesthesia and surgery carry risks and it is vitally important that all surgeries, including all invasive surgeries, including cosmetic procedures, are carried out in properly accredited and licensed facilities with an anaesthetist present, says Associate Professor Bartholomeusz.

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