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30 June 2016

Public Warning under s94A (1) of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993:  Cosmetic surgical and medical procedures performed by non-registered health practitioners

The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission is receiving an increasing number of complaints about cosmetic procedures being performed in residential premises and hotel rooms, by non-registered practitioners in NSW, particularly in the Sydney area. 

The cosmetic services being offered by non-registered practitioners are being advertised through various social media platforms, in particular “Wechat”.  The procedures involve a range of skin penetration procedures and administration of Schedule 4 prescription only medication to ‘improve’ appearance. This includes double eyelid suturing, nose bridge lifts, protein suture facelifts the administration of Botox, Dermal fillers and Glutathione skin whitening injections.

It is illegal for a non-registered practitioner to undertake these procedures and because there is no validation of their qualifications and experience there is a real risk to public health and safety. Furthermore, the procedures are being performed in facilities that have little, if any infection control measures as per the Public Health Act 2010 and the Public Health Regulation 2012 (the Regulations).

The medications used by the non-registered practitioners are imported and not on the Australian Register of Therapeutic Goods (ARTG). The import and supply of medication that is not on the ARTG is unlawful and dangerous since there is no way of determining the efficacy and safety of the medicines.

The Commission is currently conducting an investigation into a complaint made by a female who underwent a double eyelid suture procedure in a residential apartment in the Sydney area. The treatment caused bruising and scarring to the patient and damage to her eyelids. The Commission’s investigation has so far determined that the practitioner who carried out the surgery is not registered as a medical practitioner in Australia and was not qualified to conduct the surgery.  Upon executing a search warrant at the premises, Commission staff located a number of prescription only medications that had been illegally imported into Australia. This included Botulinum toxin (Botox) and hyaluronic acid injection preparations (Dermal fillers).

The Commission urges those individuals seeking cosmetic surgical and medical procedures to be vigilant in their research prior to proceeding.

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