Moves to improve quality of care for cosmetic patients welcome

8 April 2013
A report released today highlighting cosmetic procedure complaints in Queensland and recommending action for 14 practitioners has been welcomed by Maurice Blackburn Lawyers.

Medical Negligence lawyer Sarah Atkinson said the report released today by the Health Quality and Complaints Commission (HQCC) highlighted issues faced by patients seeking elective cosmetic procedures, including a lack of information to make informed decisions about any risks involved.

"It is important to remember that all surgery carries risk, no matter how simple or straightforward the procedure may seem," Mrs Atkinson said.

"This report acknowledges that unlike many other specialist procedures, a referral from a GP is often not required when a patient seeks to have a cosmetic surgeon or medical professional undertake a cosmetic procedure.

"That means that for some patients, the extra level of information around surgical procedures generally discussed with their GP is removed - and as this report acknowledges, information provided to patients seeking cosmetic procedures can often be poor.

"The cosmetic surgery industry should be giving as much detailed information to patients as possible to allow them to make informed choices, and the HQCC's commitment to provide more information to patients in this space is also welcome.

"Unfortunately as this report acknowledges, the lines can be blurred at times around commercial interests in the cosmetic surgery industry, and it's important that patient safety always comes first.

Mrs Atkinson said the HQCC's recommendation for further action in relation to 14 practitioners found to have had four or more complaints against them represented another important step towards improving protections for Queensland patients.

"Efforts to work more closely with medical colleges, professional associations and regulatory bodies are also welcome - this area can be difficult to regulate and any moves to ensure greater cooperation and compliance to drive improvement is a positive step," she said.

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