Changes to further regulate cosmetic surgery procedures approved

Published Friday, 20 October, 2017 at 07:00 AM

Minister for Health and Minister for Ambulance Services
The Honourable Cameron Dick

The Palaszczuk Government has acted to provide greater protection for people undergoing surgical procedures for cosmetic purposes.

Health and Ambulance Services Minister Cameron Dick said changes to the Private Health Facilities Regulation stipulating the stronger protections had been approved.

“There was very strong support by the public to expand the list of prescribed procedures and ensure the list includes a range of higher risk cosmetic surgical procedures,” Mr Dick said.

“Previously, procedures that are able to be performed using a low level of anaesthesia or sedation, such as high volume liposuction and breast augmentation, could be performed outside of licensed private health facilities.

“But it’s clear that Queenslanders felt their safety was at risk and this is exactly the reason we have changed the regulation.”

Minister Dick said the Palaszczuk Government had now ensured the right legislative framework was in place to protect patients.

“The safety of Queenslanders is right at the top of the Palaszczuk Government’s priorities,” Mr Dick said.

He said the changes followed the release of a discussion paper in April.  It had been developed because of earlier incidents, elsewhere in Australia, where the safety of patients was put at risk due to certain procedures being performed in unlicensed premises.  

While New South Wales had strengthened its legislation last year, Queensland had gone further and now had some of the most stringent legislation in Australia.

“The changes we’ve made to the Queensland regulation are not to restrict individual medical practitioners, but rather to ensure that the facilities where they practice are suitably equipped and staffed to deal with the level of risk involved with these procedures.”

In Australia, cosmetic surgery can be performed by a range of medical practitioners, from specialist plastic surgeons to GPs. All medical practitioners are subject to the standards set by the Medical Board of Australia.

Medical practitioners performing these cosmetic surgical procedures are now required to ensure these procedures are performed in facilities licensed under the Private Health Facilities Act 1999.   

“The Australian Medical Association Queensland, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery and the Private Hospitals Association of Queensland support these changes so all Queenslanders can be assured that high risk surgical cosmetic procedures can only be performed in licensed facilities,” Mr Dick said.

Queensland representative for the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, Dr Dan Kennedy, welcomed the changes that make cosmetic surgery in Queensland safer.

"I have had patients complain about surgery they have had in unregistered facilities with in-adequate anaesthesia, pain relief and blood pressure control,” he said.

“We know that it is critically important that any surgery be performed in a sterile and safe environment and this new regulation ensures compliance.

“Registered facilities have a full range of medications, resuscitation equipment and approved staffing levels.

“Operating within a registered facility means that poor outcomes will be audited to protect the public.”

Queensland representative from the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, Dr John Flynn, said the College strongly supports prioritising the safety of patients in Queensland.

“These changes represent sensible regulation to help ensure patient safety and it is important to see cosmetic surgery being recognised in this way,” he said.

“Cosmetic surgery is performed by a range of doctors with a wide range of training and unfortunately sometimes none at all.

“Proper specific training in cosmetic surgery is required to provide good outcomes and such training, in conjunction with these regulation changes, can provide the public with more confidence when choosing this type of surgery.”

Further details on the surgical procedures required to be performed in a licensed private health facility from 1 January are on the Queensland Health website.

Media contact: Joe Begley 0437 443 404