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Tougher regulations on cosmetic surgery in NSW

Photo: New cosmetic surgery laws for NSW
Other States should follow NSW's lead in introducing laws to protect people undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures, say experts.

Cosmetic surgery patients will have greater protection in New South Wales with the introduction of new laws.

Procedures such as breast augmentation, abdomnioplasties, and liposuctions will only be able to take place in licensed premises subject to the same standards as private hospitals.

The facilities have nine months from Friday to obtain licensing under the Private Health Facilities Act and Regulation, said Health Minister Jillian Skinner on Friday.

Other States should now follow NSW's lead, said the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS).

"This is a long overdue win for patient safety that will help ensure people undergoing cosmetic surgery procedures are afforded the same protections as patients undergoing any other type of invasive of surgery," said ASPS vice president, Dr Gazi Hussain.
"We have long been concerned by the gap in quality and safety systems surrounding cosmetic surgery which has meant some patients were being administered high volume local anaesthesia in unlicensed premises which have been able to fly under the radar in terms of accreditation and audit."

A NSW Health Care Complaints Commission investigation recently found six breast implant patients at one clinic suffered potentially life-threatening complications during surgeries in the past year.

The Cosmetic Institute was found to have routinely administered adrenaline in combination with local anaesthetics at dosages well above safe levels.

The Cosmetic Institute later said its patients now undergo surgery at a licensed private hospital.

The NSW law amendment applies to cosmetic surgical procedures involving general, epidural, spinal or major regional anaesthetic or sedation resulting in more than conscious sedation.

"Reports of significant adverse health outcomes for some patients has led to growing public concern over high-risk practices by some operators," the minister said.

New Medical Board of Australia guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic surgery will also come into effect from October 1 and will include specific cooling-off periods for patients.

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