New Ahpra guidelines that improve patient care come into effect 1st July 2023.
From the 1st of July 2023, new guidelines issued by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) will come into effect. These reforms apply to doctors practicing cosmetic surgery and non-surgical cosmetic procedures.
These changes are being introduced to uphold higher industry standards that protect patients and their suitability for procedures, as well as ensuring patients can provide informed consent.
All patients must now be assessed for underlying psychological conditions that would make them unsuitable for their chosen procedure. This will include a screening of psychological concerns such as body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) for any non-surgical injectable treatments.
If signs that would make the patient an unsuitable candidate are identified, they must be referred for evaluation to a psychologist, psychiatrist, or GP who works independently from the medical practitioner.
What does this mean for patients at Laser Skin Care?
During your visit (s) to Laser Skin Care you will now be provided with a Screening Questionnaire via hard copy or QR Code. We kindly request that you fill this questionnaire out prior to any new treatment.
This routine questionnaire is used to screen for any signs of Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD).
Answering “Yes” to any of these questions does not mean you have BDD, but your answers will be taken into consideration during your assessment.
Why is this important?
Body dysmorphic disorder (BDD) is a psychiatric condition characterised by constant worrying over a perceived or slight defect in appearance. It is treatable by cognitive behaviour therapy and medications.
Most importantly, patients with this condition are not helped by having surgery and/or cosmetic procedures and are rarely happy after treatment. Screening patients for this condition will now be a mandatory professional requirement for all medical practitioners.
Please note, these guidelines are not about restricting people with mental health concerns from getting any cosmetic procedure, but instead ensuring that if they do decide to get a procedure, they are mentally prepared and in the best possible headspace to get better outcomes.
Other APHRA changes being put in place to assess patient suitability
• The medical practitioner performing the procedure or prescribing the injectable must assess the patient’s motivations to ensure their expectations are realistic.
• If it is not believed to not be in the best interest of the patient, it must be declined.
• Botulinum toxin and dermal fillers should not be prescribed for patients under 18 for cosmetic purposes.
• These changes also require medical practitioners to have an in person or video consultation each time they prescribe a patient a schedule 4 cosmetic injectable.
Ensuring patients can provide informed consent
• Practitioners should provide enough information for the patient to make an informed decision. This should include a verbal consent discussion and providing written information about the procedure.
• Options should be discussed with the patient, including not having the procedure.
Informed consent for photos and videos of patients
• Medical practitioners must inform the patient of the purpose, how the photos or video will be used, as well as where they will be stored and who can access them.
• Patient images and videos must be stored on a secure device that is not a personal device.
• Stricter advertising guidelines around cosmetic procedures and honest photography will also be coming into effect.
At Laser Skin Care, we are dedicated to safety and ethical practice and our existing policies and procedures already cover the changes that are being made, with a few small additions. Therefore, you will not experience a change in the already comprehensive, transparent and professional service we provide.
Thank you for you continued support.
Information regarding these changes has been referenced from the Medical Board of Australia.