ASPS Welcomes New Victorian Bill

MEDIA RELEASE– 26th June 2017

Plastic surgeons applaud Victorian bill to protect patient safety

The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) welcomes the introduction of legislation into the Victorian Parliament designed to provide protection for patients undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures such as breast augmentations, abdominoplasties and facelifts.

Victorian Health Minister The Hon Jill Hennessey MP introduced the Health Legislation Amendment (Quality and Safety) Bill into the Parliament to crack down on unregulated operators performing cosmetic procedures in “dodgy backyard facilities.”

“Lives have been put at risk by these dangerous and unregulated operations and this legislation is long overdue, said ASPS President, Professor Mark Ashton.

“The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeon’s priority is patient safety and we have, over many years, called for tighter regulations for cosmetic surgery which unfortunately many people incorrectly seem to regard as trivial, or less risky than other forms of surgery.

“We commend the Government for introducing this bill to help ensure people undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures will be required to have their procedure conducted in an accredited hospital or day facility where they will be afforded the same protections as patients undergoing any other type of invasive of surgery,” said ASPS President, Professor Mark Ashton.

“We have long been concerned by the gap in quality and safety systems surrounding cosmetic surgery which has meant some procedures have been performed in unlicensed premises which have been able to fly under the radar in terms of accreditation and audit.”

“Unfortunately consumers are ill-equipped to distinguish the difference between licensed and unlicensed premises and the fundamental differences in safety and quality control associated with surgical procedures performed at hospital day procedure centres compared with doctor’s offices or other unaccredited facilities.

“While it is important for governments to provide protections for all surgical patients we encourage people considering cosmetic surgery to research, not just the facility where their procedure will take place but also, the person undertaking the surgery.

“In Australia ‘cosmetic surgery’ is a term used to describe one of the sub-specialties of Plastic Surgery. Having completed medical school, Specialist Plastic Surgeons, undertake at least a further seven years of training, five of which constitute the formal Plastic Surgery training program to qualify as a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS).”

Founded in 1970, the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons Inc (ASPS) is the peak body for Specialist

Plastic Surgeons (both reconstructive and cosmetic). Its mission is to provide the highest quality plastic

surgery care to all Australians.

However, in Australia, practitioners are performing cosmetic surgery without qualifying as a Fellow of RACS and undertaking the rigorous cycle of continuing education and review that entails.

“Consumers should be aware that there is no difference between cosmetic surgery and other surgery in regard to healing time, risk of complications and surgical and anaesthetic risk – it is a serious, technically demanding surgical discipline which Specialist Plastic Surgeons are uniquely qualified to perform,” said Professor Ashton.

The new regulations should come into effect 1st July 2018 subject to passing through the Upper House.

Media enquiries: Edwina Gatenby, mobile: 0402 130 254.

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