Why I want to change the laws surrounding cosmetic surgery – Nicole Montgomery
The laws and regulations surrounding cosmetic surgery are the most lax I have seen in the medical industry. The plastic surgery bodies have been lobbying to have this rectified for at least the last 10 Years. The problem: there is a conflict of interest, the plastic surgeons have something to gain from regulating the industry. To give an example, if you had 1000 fish in a lake and 100 fishermen licenced to catch them, then you could expect to catch 10 fish each per year. BUT, if you reduced the fishermen to only 10 (similar to removing cosmetic surgeons), then each fisherman could expect to catch 100 fish. This is where the conflict of interest lies. It’s a sad because ultimately, they want safe patient outcomes and good results for all. With the conflict of interest in play, no headway is made because the government sees this as nothing more than a turf war. The patients need a voice.
Enter Trusted Surgeons, a not-for-profit, non-biased, voice of reason for the patients. We have nothing to gain from lobbying to have laws and regulations changed. We are here to be a voice for the people whilst educating and promoting informed decisions around surgery. We want to promote qualified surgeons and surgeons with the appropriate amount of training. Patients need to be protected and the incidence of botched surgery decreased. Many of the horror stories we hear, could have been prevented, if regulations in the industry were tightened. There are 3 bodies that represent surgeons: Royal Australian College of Surgeons, Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, and the Australasian Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons. How many bodies are in place to represent patients? Nil, none, zero, nada!
Currently there are no regulations in place for to cosmetic surgery (only guidelines). There is no set level of achievement that is required to be met to perform surgery other than your initial doctor degree. Yet to become an orthopaedic surgeon or plastic surgeon, you need years of additional training after your initial doctor degree. Trusted Surgeons is using social media, PR and lobbying government, in order to have clear and transparent policy and regulation established. There also needs to be very clear benchmarks set through mandated training, to use the title Cosmetic Surgeon. That also need to be enforceable. With no current bench mark, a cosmetic surgeon could be a plastic surgeon from the USA, have performed a training program through ACCS, or could be freshly graduated from university with no surgical training. Which would you prefer? How does the public tell the difference?
HCCC has called for submissions into the industry and invited Trusted Surgeons to participate. We currently have 50 plus patients that we are working with. A call to action through social media and private groups has been announced to help reach our goal of 100 people. We are currently running polls on Facebook @trustedsurgeons to help demonstrate the publics opinion and perception of the issue. Trusted Surgeons is always looking for influences to back this cause and have reached out to many in a bid to amplify our message.
Being a not for profit we are able to take donations but have not really pushed this to date. Its hard to find like minded people who are as dedicated to the cause as we are, but someone must do it. The cosmetic surgery industry needs change and it needs it now. Let’s stop the pain and suffering people experience because of poor surgery. We licence people to drive cars, why would we not do the same for someone performing surgery?