31 Aug 2017

Cosmetic procedures

In the past seven months, the HCC has received 30 complaints relating to cosmetic procedures performed by numerous providers.

Commissioner Karen Cusack said the most common issues in these complaints were poor quality treatment or procedures that did not meet expectations.

“It’s important for consumers to realise that even routine procedures carry some level of risk and for health service providers to ensure consumers are well informed of these risks prior to treatment,” she said.

Ms Cusack said any concerns about cosmetic procedures should first be raised with the provider, and that her office could help with that.

“When someone brings us a complaint we help them raise it directly with the provider, if they haven’t already. Not only is this often the quickest and easiest way to resolve complaints, it is also required in our legislation, where reasonable to do so. We advise people what information is useful to include in the complaint, how to explain issues and outcomes and our role in assisting them if they cannot resolve it themselves.”

In cases where people cannot resolve the complaint directly, or when it is inappropriate to do so, then the HCC will often take it up with the provider directly.

“We have several cosmetic procedure complaints ongoing as we try to get explanations, apologies, refunds or other appropriate outcomes through our impartial complaint resolution process,” Ms Cusack said.

Where complaint resolution is unsuccessful or unsuitable, and where serious issues persist, there may also be the option of launching an investigation in some cases.

The HCC began operation on 1 February 2017 to replace the former Health Services Commissioner with new powers and responsibilities under the Health Complaints Act 2016. Most of the changes, including expanded investigative powers and the new code of conduct for general health services, apply to incidents that occurred since 1 February 2017.

“It’s important that all general health service providers, meaning those not regulated by AHPRA, understand their obligations under the new code of conduct,” Ms Cusack said. “This code outlines the standards of safe and ethical healthcare and provides grounds for a complaint to us and possible further action.”

If anyone has complaints about cosmetic procedures or other healthcare received in Victoria please contact us on 1300 582 113 or via our online complaint form.