If you’re considering cosmetic surgery in Australia, it’s crucial to stay informed about the latest regulations implemented by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulatory Agency (AHPRA) and the Medical Board of Australia. Beginning on the 1st of July 2023, these new regulations aim to enhance patient protection and improve standards of care for cosmetic procedures. In this article, we will outline the key changes you need to be aware of to ensure a safe and satisfactory cosmetic surgery experience.
Mandatory GP Referral:
Under the new regulations, obtaining a referral from a general practitioner (GP) will be mandatory for all patients seeking a consultation for cosmetic surgery. This change emphasises the importance of involving a medical professional in the decision-making process and ensures that patients receive appropriate guidance and care throughout their cosmetic surgery journey.
Minimum of Two Consultations:
To further enhance patient safety, a minimum of two consultations will be required for cosmetic surgery procedures. This requirement allows patients to have thorough discussions with their surgeon, enabling them to make informed decisions about the procedure and fully understand the potential risks and benefits involved.
Patient Pre-screening Assessment Test for BDD:
To address the psychological aspect of cosmetic surgery, a patient pre-screening assessment test for Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) will be required.
This process is currently in place at Absolute Cosmetic for all of our surgical patients. BDD is a condition where individuals obsessively focus on perceived flaws in their appearance. The assessment helps to identify patients who may not be suitable candidates for cosmetic surgery due to underlying psychological issues and ensures they receive appropriate support and care.
To promote careful consideration and minimise impulsive decisions, a cooling-off period of at least seven days will be required after the patient has had two consultations, given informed consent and signed consent forms, before the surgery can be booked or a deposit paid. During this period, patients can reflect on their decision, seek further advice if needed, and make sure they are fully ready for the procedure. This step aims to reduce the occurrence of regret or dissatisfaction following cosmetic surgery.
Enhanced Informed Consent:
The new regulations emphasise the importance of detailed informed consent. The treating doctor will be required to provide comprehensive information about the procedure, potential risks and complications, expected outcomes, realistic expectations and costs involved. This ensures patients have a clear understanding of what to expect, enabling them to make well-informed decisions regarding their cosmetic surgery.
Higher Standards in Training & Experience:
To enhance the quality of cosmetic surgery services, higher standards in training and experience will be implemented. Continuing Professional Development (CPD) requirements will be strengthened, ensuring that surgeons stay up-to-date with the latest advancements and best practices in cosmetic surgery. This commitment to ongoing education aims to maintain high standards of care and patient safety.
Under the new regulations, cosmetic surgery must be performed in accredited facilities. These facilities meet specific safety and quality standards, ensuring that patients receive their treatment in a controlled and suitable environment. This requirement further enhances patient safety and minimises the risk of complications.
Stricter Advertising Standards:
The new regulations also address advertising standards for cosmetic surgery. Stricter guidelines will be enforced to ensure accurate and transparent information is provided to the public. This aims to prevent misleading claims and deceptive marketing practices, allowing patients to make informed choices based on reliable information.
At Absolute Cosmetic we are excited for the improved standards of care, enhanced patient safety, and a more informed and satisfactory cosmetic surgery experience that these new requirements will bring. For more information on these reforms, please refer to the Medical Board’s FAQ on Reforms at a Glance for further details. If you have already booked your surgery for after the 1st of July 2023, our team will reach out to you if any changes to your arrangements are necessary.