TCI Report Reaction

Plastic Surgeons urge governments to regulate in light of TCI report

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons says reported findings from a NSW Government Inquiry into The Cosmetic Institute are shocking and highlight the urgent need for governments to regulate the cosmetic surgery industry in Australia.

“We have been lobbying State Governments around Australia to tighten laws around the use of high volume anaesthesia and ‘conscious sedation,’ and surgery in unlicensed premises as well as appropriate surgical qualifications for those performing cosmetic surgery,” said Associate Professor Hugh Bartholomeusz, President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

“Our number one priority is patient safety and it is for that reason we have been, over many years, calling for nationally-consistent regulations to help provide protection against the kind of practises that have been reportedly occurring at The Cosmetic Institute.

“The sooner governments act to help clean up the industry in the interests of patients’ welfare, the better. It is completely unacceptable that this has been allowed to occur,” said Professor Bartholomeusz.

“Again we remind consumers that cosmetic surgery is not trivial surgery. Anaesthesia and surgery carry risks and it is vitally important that all surgeries, including all cosmetic procedures, are carried out not just by appropriately qualified surgeons, but also in properly accredited and licensed facilities with an anaesthetist present, said Associate Professor Bartholomeusz.

“Driven by market opportunity, an increasing number of doctors are turning their hands to cosmetic surgery with more sophisticated operations being undertaken in doctors’ offices and unlicensed premises around Australia creating potentially dangerous scenarios that compromise patient care,” said Professor Bartholomeusz.

“Unfortunately consumers are ill-equipped to discern whether the doctor they choose for their cosmetic surgery is adequately trained to perform their procedure, and whether the facility in which they have their surgery is accredited and therefore it is incumbent on governments to provide tighter oversight of this growing area of practice ,” said Professor Bartholomeusz.

It’s for this reason the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeon’s submission to the Australian Medical Board’s consultation on cosmetic surgery calls for a 14 day cooling off period ahead of any cosmetic procedures; ensuring that all medical staff involved with cosmetic surgery are appropriately credentialed; strict regulations around the use of anaesthetic; and for licensing and accreditation of facilities where cosmetic surgery is performed.

“These facilities need to be brought into line with standards currently required of hospitals and day procedure centres,” said Professor Bartholomeusz.

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