A review into who can call themselves a surgeon has been launched by state and federal governments.
Victorian Health Minister Martin Foley on Monday announced public consultation on the use of the titles “cosmetic surgeon” and “surgeon” will begin later this month.
It comes after a joint investigation by Four Corners, the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age uncovered disturbing practices at a network of clinics run by celebrity cosmetic surgeon Daniel Lanzer.
Dr Lanzer trained as a specialist dermatologist.
He has surrendered his registration and retired, while an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Agency is underway.
Currently, medical practitioners in Australia can use the title “surgeon” in their practice regardless of whether they have obtained entry-level surgical training or advanced accredited surgical qualifications.
This is because the law regulating the use of professional titles does not protect the title “surgeon”‘ as a stand-alone title.
Public consultation on the issue will run from mid-December until April 2022.
Mr Foley, with the support of federal and state health ministers, is proposing four reform options: restricting the title “surgeon” under National Law, strengthening the existing framework, undertaking major public information campaigns or maintaining the status quo.
All members of the public are invited to anonymously provide feedback about their experiences and submissions can be made directly to the Department of Health by professional organisations and individual practitioners.
Several information sessions for professional organisations will also be held.
“The serious harm that has been exposed recently in the cosmetic surgery industry is unacceptable and we want to work with other jurisdictions to make sure it cannot continue to occur,” Mr Foley said in a statement.
“We need as many people as possible to provide feedback, so that all Australians can have confidence that when they visit a surgeon, they’ll get the best possible results.”