Patients can be misled by the term ‘cosmetic surgeon’ or ‘podiatric surgeon’, believing they are dealing with a medical practitioner who has formal and specific surgical qualifications when in fact they may not.
“Many Australians will be shocked to know you can call yourself a cosmetic surgeon without any specific surgical training whatsoever as there’s no restriction on the use of the term ‘surgeon’ by doctors or by other health practitioners,” Dr. Khorshid said.
Health ministers have been consulting on reforms to the regulatory scheme governing all health practitioners in Australia since July 2018.
They supported restrictions to the use of titles ‘surgeon’ and ‘cosmetic surgeon’ but announced that further consultation would need to occur. The AMA supports this reform and urges health ministers to finally complete the work they began over three years ago.
Safe surgery required high levels of training- there are no shortcuts. To protect the public from anyone using the term ‘surgeon’ must be a medical practitioner who has had the appropriate qualifications and credentials.
This guarantees a minimum level of training and expertise as well as oversight of standards of practice and ethical behavior.
Surgery is as successful as it is because of the education and training processes, the regulatory processes, and because Colleges set standards and hold their members to account.
That’s why we need to close the loopholes that allow practitioners to call themselves surgeons without necessarily meeting the necessary standards.
The AMA supports changing the National Law to make it clear to patients that anyone using the title surgeon can only do so because they are a medical practitioner who has met and continues to meet the standards necessary for Fellowship of the relevant surgical college.