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12th September 2023

I rise to speak in support of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Surgeons) Amendment Bill 2023. The bill’s genesis started with consultation in December 2021.

Australian health ministers publicly released a consultation regulation impact statement on the use of the title ‘surgeon’ within the medical profession.

To ensure everyone’s voice was heard, an expert health consumer organisation was engaged to survey health consumers about their cosmetic surgery experiences.

There was strong engagement in the consultation, with direct submissions from 150 professional stakeholders and nearly 1,400 responses to the consumer survey. In December 2022, Australian health ministers published a decision regulation impact statement which analysed the submissions and consumer survey responses. This informed the development of this bill.

In February of this year further targeted consultation was undertaken with professional stakeholders on all the cosmetic surgery legislative and non-legislative reforms agreed by all Australian health ministers.

This included consultation on the classes of medical practitioner that will be included within the definition of ‘surgical class’, and thus able to use the title ‘surgeon’.

Feedback from consultation confirmed consumers often experience significant confusion about the titles and qualifications of medical practitioners.

The feedback also indicated widespread concerns about the regulation of cosmetic surgery and instances of risk and harm associated with this industry.

Although there were a variety of views about the most appropriate way to address the identified problems, stakeholders overwhelmingly did not support maintaining the status quo and largely supported title protection.

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