On Saturday 17 November, the Daily Telegraph reported the case of an unsupervised beauty salon nurse who was found to have been administering anti-wrinkle injectables and fillers in non-sterile gloves, an “unclean” gown and with no knowledge of side-effects, highlighting concerns about the lack of regulation in the industry.
Dr Naveen Somia, President of Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) said this should send a shockwave through the regulators.
“This case is alarming as it highlights people are performing injectable treatments with little to no knowledge of how to effectively and safely administer the procedure. Even more worryingly, the person in this situation was not able to recognise the signs of a severe anaphylactic reaction to a dermal filler,” Dr Somia said.
This case highlights patient safety breaches similar to incidents that have been reported widely in the media.
“In recent months, we have seen the first case in Australia of a filler treatment causing blindness in a patient. This situation was preventable and only occurred due to the inability of the practitioner to act appropriately and promptly to prevent this situation from causing a catastrophic injury to the patient.
“Last year, we also heard of the death of Jean Huang at the hands of a person who did not have any medical qualifications that were recognised here in Australia. The needless tragedy of Jean’s death highlighted the importance of the invisible safety net protecting patients in Australia. The accreditation of facilities and the qualification and registration of health practitioners. Patient safety is paramount,” Dr Somia said.
ASAPS is a strong advocate for national regulation where the primary focus is on patient safety and public confidence in the health care system. Every year ASAPS organises a scientific meeting called the Non-Surgical Symposium together with an Injection Safety Workshop. Since its inception in 2013, approximately 5,000 people have attended this scientific meeting and acquired skills and knowledge to improve patient safety and quality of health care.
Dr Somia said there is no record of the nurse in the case reported in the Daily Telegraph having ever attended either the Non-Surgical Symposium or the ASAPS Anatomy Dissection and Cosmetic Injectables Workshop.
“As a sentinel of the cosmetic surgery and non-surgical industry, ASAPS is well-positioned to outline the guidelines for safe cosmetic injectable treatments. ASAPS provides doctors and nurses education and development opportunities to ensure their skills and practice stays within the realm of safety,” Dr Somia said.
Recently, ASAPS had the opportunity to put its opinion forward to the NSW Ministry of Health about improving patient safety in cosmetic injections. ASAPS recommended an accredited training and ongoing professional development program that is mandatory for people administering injectable cosmetic procedures to ensure patient safety.
“We want to stipulate that there is a dedicated training and credentialing program specifically in the area of injectable cosmetic treatments to ensure that people performing these procedures are capable of not only achieving results for patients, but that patient safety is upheld every single time an injection is made.
“Our members are best placed to deliver the education and training having an intimate knowledge of facial anatomy and being major influencers on patient safety. We are developing patient safety guidelines, perform research and conduct multi-disciplinary discussion sessions at our events to ensure our knowledge and skills remain current and cutting edge,” Dr Somia said.
Media contact: Julia Power, National PR and Marketing Manager, 0414 276 990