09 May 2016
The Medical Board of Australia has issued guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures.
‘The guidelines will help keep patients safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners,’ said Board Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn AM.
They apply to all medical practitioners, including specialist plastic surgeons, cosmetic surgeons and cosmetic physicians regardless of their qualifications.
The Board consulted widely with the profession, the industry and the community about the best way to protect consumers seeking cosmetic medical and surgical procedures from medical practitioners.
In March 2015, the Board circulated draft guidelines and asked for feedback on other ways to protect patients in this area - including doing nothing, providing consumer education, and providing different levels of guidance.
‘There was very clear support from stakeholders for clear guidance in this area and a strong message that other options would not effectively protect consumers,’ Dr Flynn said.
The new guidelines, which will take effect on 1 October 2016 to give medical practitioners time to comply with them, require:
The guidelines provide explicit guidance on patient assessment and informed consent, and require doctors to provide clear information to consumers about risks and possible complications.
The Board also identified a range of safety concerns that it has no power to deal with.
‘When we have the power to act, we have acted. When we identified a problem that we can’t address, we have made recommendations to other authorities,’ Dr Flynn said.
These recommendations include:
The Board supports changes in these areas but cannot define requirements set out in state or territory legislation.
The guidelines vary from the previous draft by:
‘The Board listened to stakeholder feedback, and responded with a new set of guidelines that will best keep patients safe,’ Dr Flynn said.
‘The changes prioritise patient safety and reduce some of the regulatory requirements proposed in the previous draft guidelines, when either there was no evidence of improved safety or the costs significantly outweighed the benefits of a proposal,’ she said.
Download a PDF of this Media statement - Medical Board issues guidelines on cosmetic medical and surgical procedures (261 KB,PDF)