Start with the name of a real cosmetic surgery reform


These are not isolated events. Specialist plastic surgeons see them regularly when patients come to us for corrective surgery after their lives have been permanently altered by these non-specialist practitioners.

Although specialist plastic surgeons have been reporting these horror stories to AHPRA for years, he still sits on his hands. In March, the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons made a voluntary notification to AHPRA, urging them to do what they are supposed to do: regulate.

There are key differences between a specialist plastic surgeon and a rogue practitioner. Specialist plastic surgeons have an additional eight to 12 years of training which is assessed and accredited by the Australian Medical Council. It is a strong standard of training and care that ensures good patient outcomes and prioritizes patient safety by minimizing risk.

Specialist surgeons are prepared to refuse treatment when they believe it is not in the best interest of the patient and only perform major procedures in a hospital setting. They will keep patients in hospital overnight when same-day surgery is deemed unsafe, ensuring patients receive round-the-clock care and full follow-up.

Many cosmetic “surgeons” do not have access to quality overnight hospital care for patients. Instead, ongoing treatment to correct damage, save lives and help patients recover is often dumped on the public hospital system. at considerable cost to taxpayers.

If someone wants to see a medical professional whose surgical qualifications – or lack thereof – are not recognized in Australia, that is their choice. But it must be an informed choice. Australians should to be safe from harm and deception – that’s what a health regulator and state health services are all about make sure.


AHPRA’s long-delayed decision to finally review its checks and balances will come too late for some, but for thousands of other Australians, change cannot come soon enough. The solution is simple: Regulators and governments must require practitioners to disclose their registration status to patients, and practitioners must tell the truth about their qualifications.

Dr Robert Sheen is the President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons.


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