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Cosmetic surgery reforms on track

19 Apr 2023

Safer cosmetic surgery is one step closer, with new cosmetic surgery accreditation standards now in place.

Key points
  • New cosmetic surgery accreditation standards have been set by the Australian Medical Council. Training providers can now apply to AMC for accreditation.
  • Standards support the new endorsement registration standard.
  • The accreditation standards are one part of a suite of reforms to make cosmetic surgery safer.

The accreditation standards have been set by the Australian Medical Council (AMC), using the same rigorous process that accredits the training programs of specialist medical colleges (like the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons). It has been approved and published by the Medical Board of Australia. The Board set up the endorsement on the recommendation of the cosmetic surgery review. It is underpinned by a new registration standard, signed off by Health Ministers.

Only when cosmetic surgery training programs meet these new rigorous cosmetic surgery training standards, will their graduates be qualified for endorsement. 

An endorsement is one feature in a larger package of reforms from the Board and the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) that includes tough new cosmetic industry advertising standards and higher professional standards for cosmetic surgery.

Demand for cosmetic surgery already outstrips supply by surgeons.

‘An endorsement provides a safe alternative for patients who will continue to seek procedures by doctors who are not surgeons. It creates a standard where now there is none,’ Chair, Medical Board of Australia, Dr Anne Tonkin, said.

'Patients can still choose a surgeon for cosmetic procedures. An endorsement will provide important information for those who don’t,’ Dr Tonkin said.

Creating an endorsement is the strongest regulatory tool in the Board’s kit. 

'We’re introducing it to make patients safer. An endorsement will tell patients who is trained and qualified, as does the title surgeon,’ Dr Tonkin said.

‘Without an endorsement, patients will be no better informed than they are now and the opportunity to clean up the cosmetic industry will be lost,' Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said.

The Board acknowledges the expertise of specialist surgeons and endorses health ministers’ decision to protect the title ‘surgeon’ to stop anyone without specialist registration in surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology or ophthalmology from calling themselves a surgeon. 

Both will help patients to understand who is qualified.

An endorsement:

  • is one part of a package of reforms designed to clean up the cosmetic surgery industry, raise standards and better protect patients 
  • will enable patients to make informed choices
  • will make it clear on the public register if a doctor has met high standards – either as a surgeon with specialist registration, through an endorsement for cosmetic surgery, or both.

Cosmetic surgery training providers can now seek AMC accreditation for their cosmetic surgery training programs. More detail is on the AMC website.

Background

Read more about wider cosmetic surgery reforms to make the industry safer.

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Page reviewed 19/04/2023