Statement from the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons, Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons
The President of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS), Dr Sally Langley, said the College was dismayed that practitioners with general registration who have not completed their surgical training in Australia are still able to perform surgery on unsuspecting patients.
“The footage released in the 60 Minutes joint investigation with the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age demonstrated a healthcare system where conduct that falls short of Australian surgical standards is allowed to thrive.
“Australians rightly expect all surgeries to be carried out to the highest possible standard. They expect those who perform procedures to meet nationally established educational standards, undergo regular training, and be registered in an appropriate specialty.
“We do not wish to see patients suffer, having incorrectly assumed that the person performing the procedure had undergone specialist surgical training accredited by RACS.”
RACS and the professional societies representing surgical specialty societies offer training programs accredited by the Australian Medical Council (AMC) and the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) which enable surgeons to become recognized specialists.
At the time of accreditation, board-certified surgeons have completed a minimum of 12 years of medical and surgical training, including at least five years of specialist postgraduate training, and are officially recognized as Fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (FRACS) .
Dr Robert Sheen, president of the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (ASAPS), said most practitioners who use the title “cosmetic surgeon” are not licensed surgical specialists.
“Many of these so-called ‘cosmetic surgeons’ use various training programs as proof of their expertise, but these programs are yet another way to bamboozle patients, with some requiring almost no specific surgical training.
“Australians should be able to trust that anyone in Australia who calls themselves a surgeon is committed to rigorous assessment and ongoing training, as well as scrutiny by the Australian health regulator.
“What we’re seeing instead is a lack of regulation, transparency and action. And patients are paying the price. Our nation’s health regulator needs to do just that: regulate. »
Professor Ray Sacks, President of the Australian Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgeons (ASOHNS) and RACS Chairman of the Court of Examiners, said that while complications can result from any surgery, FRACS surgeons are equipped skills and knowledge needed to deal with these scenarios.
“FRACS surgeons are trained to identify all the factors that could put a patient at particular risk. Additionally, hospitals and RACS continuously monitor complication rates to measure surgical performance and identify potentially underperforming surgeons.
“FRACS surgeons must also be committed to learning and maintaining the knowledge and skills demonstrated through various continuing professional development programs. This ensures that our specialist surgeons not only maintain their skills, but also continuously develop and improve their knowledge and clinical skills in order to provide the public with contemporary high quality healthcare.
Associate Professor Nicola Dean, President of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS), said specialist plastic surgeons within the ASPS are genuinely concerned about issues of harm to patients from cosmetic procedures performed in Australia.
“ASPS is committed to patient safety and transparent community education on the standards they should expect, the facilities in which they should be treated and the benchmarks for the procedures that treat them. All members of the SSPA are Fellows of RACS. RACS training is the foundation for training in basic surgical skills, surgical conduct and perioperative care for all surgical specialties and no doctor in Australia should be allowed to perform cosmetic surgery without it.