16 Apr 2020

Cosmetic treatment providers: do the right thing

In response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Victorian government has implemented a range of measures to safeguard the health and wellbeing of the Victorian public.

Included among the measures are various restricted activities which prohibit the operation of certain retail facilities, including beauty and personal care services.

Health Complaints Commissioner Karen Cusack reminded all affected general health service providers to do the right thing by observing current restrictions that the Victorian government has in place for two reasons. Non-compliance with the Government’s directions carries significant penalties. In addition, the Commissioner considers any failure by a general health service provider to comply with the Government’s directions to be a serious breach of Code clause 1 of the General Code of Conduct set out in Schedule 2 of the Health Complaints Act 2016. Code clause 1 requires all general health service providers to provide general health services in a safe and ethical manner. Non-compliance with the Government’s directions may also represent a breach of other Code obligations thus representing a serious risk to the health, safety and welfare of the public. The Code of Conduct sets the minimum legal standards for the provision of safe and ethical healthcare in Victoria.

The Health Complaints Commissioner deals with complaints about the provision of health services in Victoria and in the most serious cases, can investigate health service providers. This also includes cosmetic treatment providers offering services such as beauty therapy and injectables (for example Botox, dermal fillers, laser therapy, face and skin treatments).

Ms Cusack said her office continued to see a high number of complaints related to cosmetic services.

While many providers are doing the right thing by observing the Code of Conduct and Government restrictions, there will be some who will not.Ms Cusack said, “Our ongoing commitment to support the provision of safe and ethical healthcare means that if a provider is offering services that contravene the code of conduct, or is operating in breach of Government restrictions, we will not hesitate to investigate and take action against them. This can include issuing public warnings and/or making interim or permanent prohibition orders as well as notifying other regulatory agencies and Victoria Police.

It is business as usual for us.”

If a member of the community becomes aware that businesses are operating in breach of the Government’s restrictions, or if they experience unsafe or unethical healthcare, they are urged to contact the Health Complaints Commissioner’s office via the online complaint form at hcc.vic.gov.au or email at [email protected].

Contact for all media enquiries

Ms Eugenia Chan, Senior Media and Communications Advisor

Phone: 03 9949 1518

Email: [email protected]

Background for media

Code of conduct for general health services