*The contents in this blog relates to legislation in New South Wales.
As referred to in our earlier posts, a joint investigation by The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and Four Corners recently uncovered a litany of dangerous and disturbing cosmetic surgery practices, leaving patients with botched cosmetic surgery results, pain and psychological injuries.
One of the main issues highlighted by the investigation has been the unregulated nature of the industry. AHPRA does not regulate the scope of practice of medical practitioners, but rather they regulate titles. For example, the titles cosmetic surgery and anaesthetist are not protected titles under the national law, unlike the titles, plastic surgery and specialist anaesthetist, which are.
The dangers of this lack of regulation were showcased in the investigation during a video picturing a cosmetic surgeon and his colleagues allegedly dancing to Dolly Parton’s Jolene while performing a liposuction procedure on an unconscious patient. One of the practitioners in the video allegedly dancing and laughing was the anaesthetist for the procedure, who it is claimed has not undergone the rigorous training to qualify as a specialist anaesthetist, but rather, holds a basic medical degree.
Last month, AHPRA announced a review of patient safety issues in the cosmetic sector, including a review into strengthening risk-based regulation of practitioners in the industry. The announcement published on AHPRA’s website can be accessed here: https://www.ahpra.gov.au/News/2021-11-24-cosmetic-review.aspx
Since then, the federal and state governments have also launched a landmark review into the use of the title surgeon, and are considering policy options including restricting the title surgeon under the National Law, and strengthening existing mechanisms in the National Scheme.
All professional stakeholders and members of the public are invited to provide feedback about their experiences and submissions over the next three and a half months, until 1 April 2022.
The Health Council’s Consultation Regulation Impact Statement into the Use of the title surgeon can be accessed here: https://engage.vic.gov.au/medical-practitioners-use-title-surgeon-under-national-law
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If you or anyone you know has suffered harm as a result of surgery or medical treatment gone wrong, please contact our medical negligence team on 13 43 63.
At Turner Freeman, we have specialist medical negligence lawyers who will assess your case and provide personalised advice regarding your legal entitlements. Our medical negligence lawyers are located across NSW including in our offices in Parramatta, Sydney, Wollongong, Newcastle and Toronto.