01 Dec 2017

Cosmetic procedures

Since 1 February 2017, the HCC has received 40 complaints relating to cosmetic procedures performed by general health service 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.

The Department of Health & Human Services recently demanded one Melbourne-based facility, DermaMed Skin Clinic in Hawthorn, cease all surgical procedures until further notice. This came as an independent review was launched to investigate serious quality and safety concerns at the facility.

Ms Cusack welcomed the move and said she was continuing to monitor complaint trends across the cosmetic procedures industry more broadly due to concerns raised in relation to several providers.

She said any concerns about cosmetic procedures should first be raised with the provider, and that her office could help people with advice on how to do that.

In cases where people cannot resolve their complaint themselves, or when it is inappropriate to do so, the HCC can 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 general 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.