Cosmetic Surgery Regulation

Regulation of Lasers

ASPS advocates for tighter regualtion of cosmetic lasers. Download ASPS latest letter to Health NSW on the training of Specialist in the safe use of laser (March 2014)

Related media releases:
ASPS’ call to action for Government to regulate cosmetic procedures (July 2013)
ASPS’ media update on the regulation of medical grade lasers (August 2013)

Supplementary Guidelines on Cosmetic, Medical and Surgical Procedures

The Medical Board of Australia called for submissions on its draft Supplementary Guidelines on Cosmetic, Medical and Surgical Procedures. Download a copy of AHPRA’s consultations paper (March 2012). Read the ASPS response (May 2012).

As a result of the above consultations, 1st August 2013, the Medical Board released the draft revised Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia. Further consultation on the revised draft will follow. (August 2013)


Queensland’s Health Quality Complaints Commission (HQCC) Report

Great expectations – A spotlight report on complaints about cosmetic surgical and medical procedures in Queensland (April 2013)

Download the HQCC Report.

When a person seeks a cosmetic procedure, they often have ‘great expectations’ about what it will achieve and how it will transform their lives. This perception, coupled with a view that cosmetic procedures are low risk and unlikely to result in an adverse outcome, can leave the consumer extremely disappointed when procedures fail to meet their expected outcome or do not go according to plan. In this report the HQCC turns the spotlight on complaints about cosmetic procedures. The HQCC explore what patients, families and carers have told us through complaints about problems with cosmetic surgical and medical procedures in Queensland. The HQCC analyse this information and provide de-identified case studies to illustrate the issues.
They analysed complaints about cosmetic surgical and medical procedures because:

  • the risks associated with cosmetic surgical and medical procedures are underestimated by consumers
  • there is less regulation and fewer patient safeguards in place compared to other areas of medicine
  • there is a national focus on increasing consumer protections for cosmetic procedures, including a new national framework for regulating cosmetic surgical and medical procedures.

Queensland’s independent health watchdog supports reforms that improve patient safety. The HQCC analysed 245 cosmetic surgical and medical procedure complaints received between 1 July 2006 and 30 June 2012. These complaints accounted for 1% of all of the healthcare complaints received in the same six-year period.


UK Report – Professional Standards for Cosmetic Practice

Download the report (January 2013).

The standards, issued by the Royal College of Surgeons (RCS), state that financial deals such as time limited discounts should be banned and stringent psychological assessment promoted. They lay out the professional duty practitioners have to their patients, including the need to ensure they have a clear understanding of the risks of the procedure, outlining consequent aftercare and being transparent about costs from the outset.

Developed by a working group of key professionals including surgeons, psychiatrists, psychologists and dermatologists. The working group cites 2010’s National Confidential Enquiry into Patient Outcome and Death (NCEPOD) report On the face of it, which revealed a lack of consistent professional standards in cosmetic surgical practice, as the impetus for these standards. More recently, the problems with PIP breast implants exposed further shortcomings within the industry as many women were caused unnecessary distress as they struggled to track down and access their medical records to determine which implant they had received.

Cosmetic Medical and Surgical procedures a National Framework

The Interjurisdictional Cosmetic Surgery Working Group (IJCSWG) of the Clinical Technical and Ethical Principal Commitee finalised its report for the Australian Health Ministers’ Council. The report includes a review of the adequacy of consumer safeguards in relation to cosmetic medical and surgical procedures and in particular, safeguards relating to advertising, marketing and recruitment; information available to consumers and informed consent (including any specific issues for persons under 18 years of age); regulatory coverage; and professional/clinical standards of practice; and identifies options for progressing additional safeguards through a national framework or baseline of requirements.

Download a copy of thefinal report (January 2012). Download ASPS’ submission to IJCSWG (Aug 2010).