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  • Probe into 'dangerous' cosmetic surgery workers

    Author: AAP

A national probe is under way after 180 complaints about 15 healthcare workers involved with cosmetic procedures.

The investigation is described as "long and highly complex" by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency.

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Seven practitioners have been temporarily suspended or are not practising, while the others are either banned from performing surgery or have been restricted in undertaking procedures like liposuction and breast surgery.

Some 315 complaints about 127 workers are currently being examined by the regulator's cosmetic surgery unit, including 82 medical practitioners and 41 nurses.

Chief executive Martin Fletcher said the regulator was acting fast on "dangerous practitioners".

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Over the past 18 months 35 cosmetic healthcare workers have faced consequences including conditions imposed on practice or cautions.

The regulator said reports against those workers accounted for about nine per cent of total complaints during that time.

In 2022, an independent review into the $1 billion cosmetic industry made 16 recommendations after it identified unsafe practices, misleading advertising and substandard marketing across the sector.

It followed several high-profile reports of patients left disfigured and suffering complications following cosmetic procedures.

The regulator's National Director of Cosmetic Surgery Enforcement Jason McHeyzer said there was a focus on cleaning up the sector to keep the public safe.

"'The sheer number of notifications and their complexity make these investigations among the largest and most detailed ever undertaken by (the regulator)," Mr McHeyzer said.

He said the probes involve interviews with dozens of witnesses including patients and practitioners' colleagues.

Separately, the regulator revealed more than 700 people had raised concerns through its cosmetic complains hotline and it had found issues with the way 120 doctors and clinics advertised services.

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