Mandatory Cosmetic Surgery labelling similar to mandatory ‘added sugar’ labelling will safeguard patient lives

Posted on Friday, 23 August 2019

ASAPS is calling on the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Australian Health Ministers’ Advisory Council (AHMAC) to mandate that doctors only use their official Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) accredited title as signified by their registration.

The call comes off the back of news that State and Federal Food Ministers from Australia and New Zealand are reviewing the Health Star Rating System to consider mandatory “added sugar” labelling.

Dr Naveen Somia, President of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS) said that mandatory labelling needs to apply in cosmetic surgery.

“Mandatory labelling of doctors will safeguard patients from potential harm by being operated on by doctors who have been allowed to parade as surgeons thanks to the use of a fabricated title.

“There is strong evidence on the damaging effects on the patient and public health by excessive sugar intake.  We applaud the government initiative of mandatory labelling of added sugars to empower consumers to make healthy choices.  In cosmetic surgery, there is also compelling evidence that the misleading labelling of a doctor often leads to a disastrous result for an unsuspecting patient.

“Thousands of people are under the false impression that someone using the title surgeon has completed accredited training in the field of cosmetic surgery.  And it’s easy to see why they are misled.  Any title that uses the word surgeon implies surgical training has been undertaken and completed to a satisfactorily level,” Dr Somia said.

ASAPS believes it should be mandatory that doctors who practice cosmetic surgery explicitly state their official AHPRA title, and their official field of specialty. This should be done as a part of the informed consent for cosmetic surgery.

Dr Somia explained that AHPRA, as the national medical regulator, has an official title for all doctors that reflects their training and qualifications.

“However, in reality, there is rampant use of unofficial titles.  The result is patients are not able to differentiate between the doctors who call themselves surgeons and the AHPRA accredited surgeons.

“There is an urgent need to label doctors according to their training and qualifications.  By doing so, patients will be able to make an informed decision about who is appropriately qualified to perform their cosmetic surgery,” Dr Somia said.

As evidenced in Channel Nine’s A Current Affairs program on 30 July 2019, which highlighted the negative impact on patients as a result of the use of fabricated titles by a doctor, one of the patients in the story said ‘I would have never agreed to be operated on had I known he wasn’t a Plastic Surgeon’ — thus demonstrating that fabricated titles easily misleads patients.

Dr Somia said the COAG Health Ministers need to act urgently as part of the review of the National Law to label doctors according to their training and qualifications.

“ASAPS believes that this critical step will bring the much-needed transparency to cosmetic surgery and will protect the patients of today and well into the future,” Dr Somia said.


Media contact: Julia Power, National PR and Marketing Manager, 0414 276 990

Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons has been one of the peak bodies for cosmetic surgery in Australia and New Zealand for over 40 years. We are committed to making sure you receive the best advice, find an appropriately qualified aesthetic plastic surgeon and experience world-class treatment before, during and after your surgery.


What’s involved in my surgery?

Take a closer look at procedures