08 Nov 2022
In November 2021, Ahpra and the MBA commissioned the independent review following reports that raised concerns about the alleged conduct of some medical practitioners in the sector. The review’s final report was published in September 2022 and Ahpra and the MBA accepted the 16 recommendations in full.
Speaking up for safety
Calls to a new Ahpra Cosmetic Surgery Hotline have already resulted in the launch of thirteen new investigations over allegations of unsafe or inappropriate practice.
The Cosmetic Surgery Hotline has received 60 calls since it opened on 5 September, Ahpra is on average launching a new investigation each week based on these tip-offs.
This new service makes it easier and safer for cosmetic surgery patients, or their family and friends, to report concerns. The launch of the hotline has been supported by an online campaign to encourage patients to report bad outcomes to ‘help make cosmetic surgery safer for everyone.’
Allegations reported to the hotline which are now being investigated include:
‘We thank everyone who has contacted the Hotline as it means we can immediately investigate and act on safety issues that may otherwise have gone undetected and led to further patient harm,’ Ahpra CEO, Martin Fletcher, said.
‘Crucially, the allegations relate to practitioners and matters which had never previously been reported to Ahpra.’
‘I urge anyone who has had a bad cosmetic surgery experience to report it on 1300 361 041 so it can be investigated.’
Practitioners can also use the hotline to report concerns, which can be made confidentially. To reinforce vigilance within the industry, the MBA has written to Australia’s 133,000 medical practitioners reminding them of their obligations to report unsafe practice.
‘I am grateful to the practitioners who are providing patients with much needed follow up care when cosmetic surgery goes wrong. But we also need it reported to us,’ MBA Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin said.
‘Speaking up for safety helps break the silence that allows poor practice to go unchecked.'
You can read more about the hotline on our newly created Cosmetic Surgery Hub.
Crackdown on advertising
The first stage of a crackdown on cosmetic surgery advertising began in early September targeting cosmetic surgery advertising undertaken by practitioners with large online and social media profiles.
Common issues identified include:
Consumers and practitioners can notify us about advertising breaches via the Hotline 1300 361 041. Examples of what constitutes a breach can be found on our Cosmetic Surgery Hub.
Australian Consumer and Competition Commission Deputy Chair, Ms Delia Rickard has agreed to chair a new Cosmetic Surgery Oversight Group which will provide oversight of the wide-ranging cosmetic surgery reforms being undertaken by the MBA and Ahpra.
Having championed consumer protection for a decade at the ACCC, Ms Delia Rickard will bring a strong voice to help ensure that everyone who chooses cosmetic surgery has the information they need to make safer choices.
Ms Rickard will take up this chairing role when she completes her term as Deputy Chair of the ACCC in late January 2023.
The Cosmetic Surgery Oversight Group has been established by the Ahpra Board and will commence in February 2023. It will provide assurance to the community, governments, and industry stakeholders that Ahpra and the MBA are implementing the recommendations of the independent review to achieve required outcomes.
Consultation on a new standard and new and revised guidelines to kick off in November
In November, the MBA will start publicly consulting on new and strengthened regulatory requirements for medical practitioners who provide cosmetic surgery across Australia.