Under the Knife: Foreshadowed Reforms to Target Cosmetic Procedures
On 5 September 2023, the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) announced further reforms set to be released to focus on advertising and practice within the non-surgical cosmetic procedures industry. Under these new reforms, health practitioners performing and advertising procedures such as Botox, anti-wrinkle injections and thread lifts will be subject to stronger guidelines designed to safeguard patients.
Within the announcement, AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher emphasised the need for further reforms: “Getting these services is not like getting a haircut – these procedures come with risk. We want to ensure the public knows what safe practice looks like, and that practitioners are doing everything necessary to keep the public safe.” As discussed in Part 2 of this series, the Australian cosmetic surgery and procedure industry is growing at a rapid rate, with over $1 billion spent each year.
However, with this rapid expansion comes the more frequent use of non-surgical cosmetic procedures, and the wider range of health practitioners who provide them. As such, an increased number of patients are placed at risk of harm without further regulation.
In response to this risk, the National Boards will soon engage in a consulting process to determine the new guidelines for practitioners who perform and advertise non-surgical cosmetic procedures. These guidelines will apply to all registered health practitioners, including medical practitioners. Public consultation on the proposed guidelines will shortly open in the coming months, with the final release date set for the first half of 2024.
AHPRA also indicated what the new reforms are likely to address in 2024:
Pre-procedure consultation, including patient suitability assessment;
Prescribing and administering prescription-only cosmetic injectables;
Advertising ‘before and after’ images;
Claims made concerning the expertise and qualifications of practitioners;
Affirming the advertising ban on testimonials; and
Clarifications of the rules concerning the use of influencers and social media figures.
This announcement comes one year after the release of the Independent Review of the regulation of medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery report on 1 September 2022. As foreshadowed within the 1 July 2023 Guidelines for registered medical practitioners who advertise cosmetic surgery, these new reforms demonstrate the shift in focus by Australian regulators towards the regulation of performing and advertising aesthetic treatments.
In order to stay compliant with the ever-evolving Australian regulatory landscape, and to ensure your practice or business is not adversely impacted by the release of the foreshadowed guidelines, keep a close eye on the next instalment of Under the Knife by BlackBay Lawyers.