Medical Board of Australia - May 2016
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May 2016

Update Medical Board of Australia

New guidelines for cosmetic surgery

Cosmetic guidelines to take effect 1 October 2016

The Board has issued guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures. 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 and the community about the best way to protect consumers seeking cosmetic medical and surgical procedures and received a record number of submissions.

The new guidelines, which will take effect on 1 October 2016 to give medical practitioners time to comply with them, require:

  • a seven-day cooling-off period for all adults before major procedures
  • a three-month cooling-off period before major procedures for all under 18s and a mandatory evaluation by a registered psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist
  • a seven-day cooling-off period before minor procedures for all under 18s, and when clinically indicated, evaluation by a registered psychologist, general practitioner or psychiatrist
  • the treating medical practitioner to take explicit responsibility for post-operative patient care and for making sure there are emergency facilities when they are using sedation, anaesthesia or analgesia
  • a mandatory consultation before a medical practitioner prescribes schedule 4 (prescription only) cosmetic injectables, either in person or by video consultation, and
  • medical practitioners must provide patients with detailed written information about costs.

The Board has also made recommendations to other authorities about safety concerns that it identified but does not have the power to address. The Board has called for these agencies to deal with inconsistencies in drugs and poisons legislation across jurisdictions and strengthen and align the licensing and regulation of private health facilities, including the use of sedation and anaesthesia.


Cosmetic medical and surgical procedures are performed by medical practitioners with a range of different qualifications. The problems that arise for patients are not all caused by one group of practitioners. By setting guidelines that apply to everyone, the Board is doing what it can to make sure that all medical practitioners practise within their skill and ability and provide safe care to their patients.

The Board decided to issue guidelines because it believed this was the best way to protect consumers.
The consultation process demonstrated broad support for more specific regulatory guidance in this area of medical practice and led the Board to make some changes to its original proposal. The final guidelines differ from the initial draft by:

  • making it clearer which procedures the guidelines apply to, and
  • setting a different cooling-off period for major and minor procedures for patients who are under 18.

More information, including a copy of the guidelines and links to FAQ, is available in this news item on the Board’s website.  

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Looking for a new challenge?

We are recruiting for a Professional Officer who is a registered medical practitioner, to assess applications from international medical graduates for registration to work in general practice.

For this role you must have unconditional general or specialist registration as a medical practitioner and extensive experience in a general practice and/or primary care setting.

The role is part time (0.4 FTE) for a 12-month fixed term and can be based in any state or territory. The closing date for applications is 6 June 2016.

See the AHPRA website for the position description and more information. 

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Non-practising registration

Information for medical practitioners who are not currently practising medicine

Medical practitioners who no longer need a type of registration that allows them to practise can apply for non-practising registration. This type of registration may be suitable for medical practitioners who:

  • have retired completely from medical practice
  • are having a temporary absence from practice (for example, on maternity or paternity leave), or
  • are not practising in Australia but are practising overseas.

Under the National Law, medical practitioners with non-practising registration must not practise the profession. When deciding whether non-practising registration could apply to you, remember that medical practitioners with non-practising registration must not:

  • provide medical treatment or opinion about the physical or mental health of an individual, or
  • prescribe or formally refer to other health practitioners.

Medical practitioners with non-practising registration who wish to prescribe and/or refer to other health practitioners may apply for general or specialist registration and will need to meet the Board’s registration standards for:

  • continuing professional development
  • recency of practice, and
  • professional indemnity insurance arrangements.

The Board has published a statement on Medical registration – What does it mean? Who should be registered? to help individuals with medical qualifications to decide whether or not they should be registered. It also provides advice on the activities that can be undertaken without requiring practising registration.

There is a reduced fee for non-practising registration (currently $141 compared with $724 for general and/or specialist registration).

Medical practitioners with non-practising registration can continue to use the courtesy title of ‘doctor’.

For more information see:

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Social research

Have you received a survey?

This week you may have received an email from Dr Joanna Flynn, Chair of the Board, inviting you to complete an anonymous online survey. The Board is interested to explore the views of the medical profession about how doctors build trust with patients and what we need to do to demonstrate that we are competent and fit to practise medicine. We are also interested to understand how medical practitioners access information from the Board.

If you were one of the 15,000 doctors randomly selected, we encourage you to participate and provide your views.

The online responses are anonymous and the Board will only receive de-identified data from the social research company Ipsos, which is conducting the research on behalf of the Board.

The survey will take about fifteen minutes; details are in the email from AHPRA. The survey closes on 20 June 2016 and the findings will be published later in 2016.

The Board hopes to have a high response rate to ensure we understand the views of the profession. More consultation will occur as this work progresses.

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News and alerts

Call for applications: from medical practitioners and community members for the Queensland Medical Board

There are vacancies on the Queensland Medical Board for medical practitioners and community members. Applications close 30 May 2016. For further information, read the call for applications on our website.

AHPRA successfully prosecutes former doctor

AHPRA, on behalf of the Board, has successfully prosecuted a former doctor, Ms Cynthia Weinstein, for holding herself out as a medical practitioner. Her company, CDC Clinics (Cosmetic Discount Centre), was convicted and fined. Read more in the media statement.

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Panel, court and tribunal decisions.

Latest tribunal decisions published online

AHPRA on behalf of the 14 National Boards publishes a record of panel, court and tribunal decisions about registered health practitioners. Summaries are published when there is clinical and educational value.

Court and tribunal decisions

Under the National Law, the Board must refer a matter about a registered medical practitioner or student to a tribunal if the Board reasonably believes that the practitioner has behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct; or the practitioner’s registration was improperly obtained because the Board was given false or misleading information. The Board must also refer the matter to a tribunal if a panel established by the Board requires the Board to do so.

Medical practitioners may also appeal certain decisions of the Board to a tribunal or court.

AHPRA publishes summaries of tribunal or court cases. These can be sourced at Tribunal decisions on the AHPRA website. The Board and AHPRA sometimes choose to not publish summaries, for example about cases involving practitioners with impairment.

A full library of published hearing decisions from tribunals or courts relating to complaints and notifications made about health practitioners or students is available on the Austlii website

NSW and Queensland

In NSW and Queensland, different arrangements are in place.

In NSW, medical tribunal, court and committee decisions are published separately. In Queensland, complaints are received by the Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO).

More information is available on AHPRA’s website under Notification outcomes and hearing decisions.

Recent decisions of tribunals

Medical Board of Australia v Alroe

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that it was not necessary for conditions to be imposed on Dr Christopher Alroe’s specialist registration. Read more in the tribunal summary.

Medical Board of Australia v Pearse

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal dismissed a referral by the Board against Dr Glen Pearse. Read more in the tribunal summary.   

Panel hearings

When investigating a notification, state and territory committees of the Medical Board of Australia may refer a medical practitioner to a health panel hearing, or a performance and professional standards panel hearing.

Under the National Law, panel hearings are not open to the public. AHPRA publishes a record of panel hearing decisions made since July 2010. Summaries have been provided when there is educational and clinical value. These summaries are accessible from hyperlinks within the table. Practitioners' names are not published, consistent with the requirements of the National Law. This table does not include summaries of panel decisions made under previous legislation, even if these were held after July 2010.

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Contacting the Board

  • The Medical Board of Australia and AHPRA can be contacted by phone on 1300 419 495.
  • For more information, see the Medical Board of Australia website and the AHPRA website.
  • Lodge an enquiry form through the website under Contact us at the bottom of every web page.
  • Mail correspondence can be addressed to: Dr Joanna Flynn AM, Chair, Medical Board of Australia, GPO Box 9958, Melbourne, VIC 3001.

More information

Please note: Practitioners are responsible for keeping up to date with the Board’s expectations about their professional obligations. The Board publishes standards, codes and guidelines as well as alerts in its newsletter. If you unsubscribe from this newsletter you are still required to keep up to date with information published on the Board’s website.

Comment on the Board newsletter is welcome and should be sent to [email protected].

For registration enquiries or contact detail changes, call the AHPRA customer service team on 1300 419 495 (from within Australia).

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Page reviewed 23/04/2024