New assessment requirements for patients seeking cosmetic procedures to be introduced on 1st July 2023

New assessment requirements for patients seeking cosmetic procedures to be introduced on 1st July 2023

Considering whether to undergo a surgical procedure is a serious matter that necessitates becoming well-versed in the procedure itself, the outcomes and risks, the recovery process and any lifestyle modifications that you may need to make in order to accommodate the recovery.

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) has recently released new guidelines for medical practitioners performing cosmetic surgery which require them to assess patient suitability. These guidelines aim to ensure patient safety and wellbeing, while also ensuring that patients receive accurate and transparent information about the risks and benefits of cosmetic procedures.

What will change from 1st July 2023 and how does this affect me?

All patients who attend an initial consultation with a specialist surgeon at Valley Plastic Surgery will be asked to provide a referral letter – preferably from their usual general practitioner – or from another general practitioner or specialist medical practitioner if necessary.

The surgeons practicing at Valley Plastic Surgery will assess the patient’s reasons and motivation for seeking surgery, discuss their expectations, and ensure that these expectations are realistic.

If the procedure is deemed cosmetic (which would be determined at the time of initial consultation), patients will be asked to complete further screening for potential underlying psychological conditions such as body dysmorphic disorder. This additional screening involves the completion of a questionnaire following the initial consultation which is then scored. A completed questionnaire is required prior to booking surgery.

If the screening indicates that the patient has significant underlying psychological issues, they must be referred to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or general practitioner for evaluation.

These guidelines aim to ensure that patients receive high-quality care and are fully educated and aware of the risks and benefits of surgical cosmetic procedures so as to be able to make informed decisions.

In summary:

  • A GP referral will now be required for all patients attending VPS for a consultation.
  • Patients who are undergoing cosmetic procedures must complete validated psychological assessment tools prior to undergoing surgery (such as body dysmorphic disorder screening tools) and be referred on if necessary.
  • Options should be discussed with the patient, including not having the procedure.