New Medical Board Guidelines – and what it means for you as a patient

Envisage Clinic Working with Patient in their Clinic on the Gold Coast

AHPRA has released an advanced copy of guidelines for practitioners who perform cosmetic procedures which come into effect on the 1st July 2023. There are widespread changes, and it will to some extent affect every patient having a cosmetic procedure in Australia. There has been coverage of these changes in the media and on the television, some of which has been inaccurate. I have attempted to summarise these changes and how they will affect you and Envisage Clinic and other cosmetic practices as I understand them today.

I am not discussing cosmetic surgery as these services are not performed at Envisage Clinic. Anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, threadlifts, Coolsculpting, mole removal, and even hair transplants, are all classified as non-surgical procedures.

Will there be major changes at Envisage clinic?

No. We already comply with the majority of these new guidelines. There will be minor changes to consent and consultations, and information about your treatment provided to you in writing or by email post-procedure.

Will I have to see a doctor?

Yes – the doctor who will perform the procedure or prescribe the cosmetic injectable must assess the patient and discuss their reasons for requesting it and explain realistic expectations of results. The patient must be assessed for underlying psychological conditions. Alternative treatments and the option of not treating must be discussed.

Will I have to see a doctor each time I have a cosmetic injectable?

Yes. This may be in person or by video call.

Will I need a referral from my GP for cosmetic treatments?

No. This is only required for cosmetic surgery, not for non-surgical procedures.

What about patients under the age of 18?

The Medical Board considers that “Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers should not be prescribed for patients under the age of 18 for cosmetic purposes”. I would entirely agree with this. For patients under 18 there must also be a 7 day cooling off period between consultation and the procedure being performed.

What are the changes to consent to treatment?

There are a number of new regulations about consent. The medical practitioner performing or prescribing the treatment must discuss verbally and in writing what the treatment involves, what products are being prescribed, possible outcomes and risks, the possibility of treating any side effects, and recovery times, total costs, and advice that cosmetic treatments are not covered by Medicare, and the practitioner’s qualifications, registration, training and experience. A copy of this consent must be given to the patient.

Who is responsible for patient management?

The guidelines make it very clear that the prescribing doctor is responsible for any management and post procedure care of a patient. This will have implications for nurse only staffed clinics who use a remote prescribing doctor. I have always felt, and often seen, that these arrangements can lead to a lack of appropriate aftercare in the (rare) event of a significant side effect of treatment occurring. In future the contact details of the prescribing doctor must be provided to the patient, as well as details of the procedure performed and instructions for aftercare.

The prescribing doctor must also have appropriate training and experience and undertake continuing professional development in cosmetic procedures.

Can I still pay with Humm and Zip pay?

Yes. These after pay arrangements are still allowed.

What are the changes to advertising and marketing?

There are a number of regulations on advertising and marketing, which Envisage Clinic already complies with. The chief change that will affect a lot of other clinics is that, from July 1st, free or discounted procedures can no longer be offered to social media influencers or users for the promotion of cosmetic procedures.

Article by Dr Christopher Leat –  Medical Director Envisage Clinic Benowa  

Dr Chris Leat Medical Director

Dr Christopher Leat – Medical Director Envisage Skin Clinic Founder and Director.

Dr Christopher Leat has 33 years’ experience in Medicine and is a member of The Royal College of Physicians of London.

Dr Leat has devoted the last 18 years to Cosmetic Medicine and is recognized throughout Australia as one of the most experienced doctors in the field of Cosmetic Medicine.