The Cosmetic Surgery Standards are now in place

As part of the national reform of the cosmetic surgery sector in Australia, the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Health Care (the Commission) developed and released the National Safety and Quality Cosmetic Surgery (NSQCS) Standards in December 2023. These aim to protect the public from harm and improve the quality of cosmetic surgery in Australia by mitigating risks relating to the delivery of clinical care within cosmetic surgery services.  

Who will the Standards affect?

These standards must be implemented by every service in Australia where cosmetic surgery is performed. The Commission has defined Cosmetic Surgery as an invasive surgical procedure that involves cutting beneath the skin (not injectables) for the purpose of achieving what a person perceives to be a more desirable appearance.

All services that offer these procedures, from small day procedure clinics to large health organisations, will be equally monitored against these standards. This does not include:

  • Non-surgical procedures that do not involve cutting beneath the skin (e.g. mole removal);  
  • Gender affirmation surgery; 
  • Surgery and procedures which may also lead to improvement in appearance; and 
  • Reconstructive surgery. 

The standards are aligned to the National Safety and Quality Health and Safety (NSQHS) Standards, which all hospitals and day procedure services (including services offering the above procedures) are required to follow. In addition to the NSQHS-aligned actions, there are also 20 actions specific to the delivery of cosmetic surgery that must be followed as part of the Cosmetic Surgery Standards. 

Organisations who already follow the NSQHS Standards may find it useful to use the Commission’s map of the NSQHS to NSQCS to guide their understanding of how the new requirements fit with their existing compliance.

What are the standards?

There are seven individual standards:  

  1. Clinical governance
  2. Partnering with consumers
  3. Preventing and controlling infection
  4. Medication safety
  5. Comprehensive care
  6. Communicating for safety
  7. Recognising and responding to acute deterioration

The first two standards, clinical governance and partnering with consumers, incorporate the clinical governance framework to establish the underlying requirements for services to effectively fulfill the subsequent standards. Each standard includes a consumer outcome statement, a statement of intent and then several items which are broken down into more detailed actions.  

Additional changes and reforms:

The standards have been curated to complement other reforms to the cosmetic surgery sector, including:  

  • legislative amendments to the requisite training required to acquire the title “surgeon”; 
  • changes to the national licensing framework for cosmetic surgery by the Commission; 
  • new guidelines enforced by the Medical Board of Australia (MBA) for conducting and advertising cosmetic surgery; and  
  • the introduction of a cosmetic surgery area of practice enforcement by the MBA.

For more information outlining these complementary reforms look here.

The Cosmetic Surgery Standards in SPP

To help you understand all these requirements and intended outcomeswe’ve built a new self-assessment in SPP for the Cosmetic Surgery Standards. 

This is in addition to our existing NSQHS self-assessments.

Need to comply with the Cosmetic Surgery Standards?

Sign up to SPP to ensure your organisation is meeting their new requirements!

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SPP has been a great resource for understanding and mapping Standards, preparing for Audits and also sourcing resources for policy development. I would recommend it to other organisations to complement their quality and compliance work. Information can be easily shared, and evidence gathered to support all work done.
Community mental health service provider, Victoria
I like the speed and ease of SPP, I love how it maps multiple standards. It’s so convenient, I couldn’t imagine the nightmare to do the work manually. The templates are great for gap analysis. SPP resource templates are great for implementing new policies in the office and for what we do day to day.
Large provider of settlement services to immigrants, New South Wales
I have found the SPP system amazing. It provides a structured way to work through the standards and then provide a succinct report on the evidence being provided for a surveyor to view how we meet the standard. I used this in our recent accreditation survey, the auditor was very impressed, AND we are now accredited for ISO 9001. Thanks again. A great system.
Provider of diverse range of health programs, Queensland
We really like SPP. We use the resources in the Reading Room and couldn't have passed our accreditation with flying colours without SPP.
Advocacy, support and education provider, Australian Capital Territory
Everything is going well with SPP. It’s helped us through three lots of accreditation over the past nine months plus some internal auditing, so I’m very glad to have had it to assist us through the processes.
Large regional multi-service provider, Victoria