Ahpra urges consumers to be safe before cosmetic surgery

Wednesday, 26 February, 2020

Ahpra urges consumers to be safe before cosmetic surgery

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has launched the education campaign ‘be safe first’ to advise consumers of the risks associated with cosmetic procedures, particularly those offered by unregistered practitioners.

The be safe first campaign includes resources to help consumers ask the right questions before going ahead with a cosmetic procedure.

Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said the campaign encourages consumers to think seriously about who is undertaking the procedure, where it is performed and the product being used before going through with any cosmetic procedure.

“All cosmetic procedures have risks, and we are advising anyone thinking of having a cosmetic procedure to ‘be safe first’ and make an informed decision,” he said.

“When having a cosmetic procedure, consider whether the person who is going to carry out the procedure is appropriately qualified.

“Cosmetic procedures should be provided in a clean and safe environment with products that have been prescribed appropriately. If the person, place or product are not right, it could have serious implications for your health and wellbeing.

“Many concerns are raised with us after someone has had a bad outcome from a cosmetic procedure. We want everyone to know what to look out for and which questions to ask before going ahead,” Fletcher said.

For the last three and a half years, Ahpra has helped protect consumers by working with several agencies to respond to concerns about cosmetic procedures — this has included prosecuting eight individuals and companies for offences under the National Law relating to cosmetic procedures. Penalties for such offences have doubled since 1 July 2019, including potential jail time of up to three years for some offences.

In the be safe first campaign, Ahpra is advising consumers to check first if the person carrying out the procedure is registered and appropriately qualified on the national online register of practitioners.

The campaign resources and supporting materials include a new ‘cosmetic surgery and procedures’ section on the Ahpra website, with dedicated pages for specific audiences including: information to help consumers know what questions to ask and what to look out for; information about who to contact with a concern and the roles and responsibilities of organisations involved in regulating cosmetic procedures and surgery; a fact sheet on cosmetic injectables; and resources for practitioners about cosmetic procedures, including links to previous guidelines developed by the Dental, Medical and Nursing and Midwifery Boards of Australia.

Consumers Health Forum CEO Leanne Wells said that “be safe first is a welcome and unfortunately much-needed message for people considering cosmetic surgery”.

“There are too many practitioners currently offering cosmetic services with doubtful and even hazardous outcomes,” she said. “Ahpra’s action in promoting this advice is a positive step for health consumers.”

Image credit: ©stock.adobe.com/au/sepy

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