Trish: I’m here today with Dr. John Flynn from the Australian College of Cosmetic Surgery, and he’s the Chief Censor. And we’re going to have a little bit of a chat about the recent changes that have been approved by the medical board with regards to cosmetic practitioners. Is that correct?
Dr John Flynn: Correct. Yes.
Trish: So Dr Flynn, tell us what’s actually going on. What does it mean for the consumer? What’s happening?
Dr John Flynn: Well I think the important thing is that the medical board has brought out some guidelines that really crystallise what ought to be best practice in any case. And I think that’s very important because it goes to protecting the consumer and it goes to patient safety. Some of the clear elements: there should be a consultation with the patient before a procedure but, more importantly, there should be a consultation with the doctor who is going to perform the procedure.
Dr John Flynn: That allows us to set the right expectation, to impart the right sort of information to the patient. So, there shouldn’t be any misunderstanding about what’s going to be done and what the expectation might be. You really don’t want the situation where a third-party or an agent, if you would, is looking to up-sell or to raise expectations beyond what is reasonable. I think, in essence, that’s the key and I think it’s very important.
Trish: Yeah. So, if you want to see a doctor for a procedure the doctor is going to be the one that actually has the consult with you before you go in with your procedure?
Dr John Flynn: That would be best medical practice and that’s what has been crystallized in the new medical board guidelines. And our college would be very supportive of that.
Trish: Right. So that’s what we want. That’s what we’re heading towards.
Dr John Flynn: Exactly. The other element too is the provision of aftercare. Now you might think this is an automatic assumption that there is aftercare and that it’s appropriate. And, of course, that too is best medical practice. But again, it’s been formulated and regulated into a formal guideline and this too is important. It’s a little bit sad to think that they’ve had to actually do that. Because you would normally expect a good professional, ethical practitioner would provide good quality aftercare in any case. Now, sometimes it might be by virtue of geography or mainly by virtue of particular skills that might be required should a complication occur that the doctor might need to find an alternative practitioner to provide those additional skills or to cope with geographical isolation. But nevertheless it is the prime treating doctor’s responsibility to make the provision for that after care.
Trish: Sure. And how does the consumer know that they’re actually visiting someone who is actually properly trained and going to perform … has been trained in the right area and is going to actually do the right thing by them as well. How do we know, as the consumer?
Dr John Flynn: Well, look. You’ve hit the nail on the head with a big consumer issue. And, of course, what this revolves around is recognition of the specialty. Now, at the moment, there is no formal recognition of cosmetic surgery as a distinctive specialty. Now I would argue, of course, the fellows of our college are very well trained specifically in cosmetic surgery. But the general public doesn’t have any finite way of determining this. Now, if there was a proper recognition of cosmetic surgery then there would be mandated standards and qualifications, experience, scope-of-practice against which all doctors should be measured. And I think that would be the best way to protect the patients. In the interim, again, I would say look for a Fellow of the College of Cosmetic Surgery. Our college maintains what we call procedure-specific registers. We recognise that not every doctor is equally skilled in every procedure, and so, the specific register will allow you to look at a college fellow who is particularly accredited in a given procedure whether that be breast surgery, or rhinoplasty, or face-lift or whatever.
Trish: Okay. So, basically you’ve got to see which doctor you’re going to, make sure he’s got the right qualifications, make sure he’s good at doing what you want to have done, and make sure he’s got the aftercare as well.
Dr John Flynn: Exactly. And, you know, there’s another really important thing. Make sure that you’ve got a rapport with the doctor. Make sure that you get on with the doctor. That you can talk to the doctor. Because if you haven’t got that ease of communication, if you don’t have that right doctor-patient relationship, then everything becomes just so much harder.
Trish: Yes, that’s so true. Well, look, if you’re out there and you’re having a look and you’re not sure about where to start, and want to know just feel free to drop us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or just give us a call. Thanks very much. Thank you so much.
Dr John Flynn: Thank you very much.