Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Consulting on the foundations of safer cosmetic surgery

Consulting on the foundations of safer cosmetic surgery

14 Nov 2022

The Medical Board of Australia (MBA) is consulting on three reforms to make cosmetic surgery safer. 

Key points
  • Medical Board standards form the foundations of good medical practice.
  • We’re consulting now on three reforms to support safe practice in cosmetic surgery, all recommended by the independent review.
  • Three draft documents are open for comment: a registration standard to establish an endorsement pathway, stronger guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery, and advertising guidelines for cosmetic surgery.
  • Consultation closes 11 December 2022.

 

Public consultation begins on:

  • a registration standard, which is the regulatory platform on which endorsement of registration rests - Registration standard: Endorsement of registration for cosmetic surgery for registered medical practitioners 
  • higher professional standards, in updated Guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures and
  • tougher advertising requirements, in new Guidelines for medical practitioners who advertise cosmetic surgery.

All three reforms were recommended by the recent independent review and are part of wider changes designed to make cosmetic surgery safer. The consultation paper (with the draft documents) is available on the Medical Board website.

‘We’re keeping our word and moving quickly to make cosmetic surgery safer,’ Dr Anne Tonkin, MBA Chair, said.

'Your feedback will help us set the right foundations for safer cosmetic surgery, so consumers know who to go to and doctors know what is expected,' Dr Tonkin said.

This is a shorter, streamlined consultation to meet the timeframes expected by Health Ministers. It draws on the extensive public consultation that underpinned the independent review. 

In early 2023, after reflecting on consultation feedback, the Board will finalise both advertising and professional guidelines and refer the registration standard to Health Ministers. 

In parallel, the AMC is developing and will consult on accreditation standards and graduate outcomes required to gain endorsement. These are the gateways to public recognition of expertise and will determine which qualifications are recognised for endorsement. There are no qualifications approved yet.

Cosmetic surgery reforms

A package of reforms will make cosmetic surgery safer. Here’s a quick summary of what is changing, the impact of each change and how the reforms fit together:

  • Titles: Calling yourself a surgeon. Health Ministers are considering restricting who can call themselves a surgeon, so it’s easier for consumers to know who is qualified to use this title. This will come through a change in the National Law. Restricting this title controls what doctors call themselves and can help consumers make better-informed decisions. 
  • Registration: Endorsement for cosmetic surgery. This will help consumers know who is trained and qualified to perform cosmetic surgery safely. The endorsement will be visible on the public register and make it clear if a doctor has met cosmetic surgery standards set by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Board of Australia. An endorsement will not limit what doctors do, but it can make it clear who is trained and qualified. The new registration standard paves the way for cosmetic surgery endorsement. In a separate process, the AMC will set the accreditation standards and graduate outcomes that will determine which qualifications are recognised for endorsement. The draft registration standard mandates data collection, limits major cosmetic surgery to accredited facilities and does not include ‘grandparenting’. 
  • Higher standards: Medical Board guidance sets professional standards that guide doctors’ practice and provides the yardstick for assessing complaints. We’re consulting now on:
    • revised guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures 
    • new, targeted guidelines for advertising cosmetic surgery and procedures.

    These policy reforms are backed by a wide range of education, communication, enforcement and process changes. You can read more on Ahpra’s cosmetic surgery hub.

How to make a submission

We’re keen to hear from all stakeholders including organisations, medical practitioners, other health practitioners and consumers.

You can use the submission form or submit feedback via the online surveys for organisations and practitioners, and for consumers. Please visit the current consultations page on the MBA website for all options. 

Contact us

  • Submissions enquiries: medboardconsultation@ahpra.gov.au.
  • Media enquiries: (03) 8708 9200
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    Page reviewed 14/11/2022