Aesthetic medicine is about to undergo a facelift, with major changes looming for the lucrative industry – but will GPs be unfairly targeted?
Aesthetic medicine in Australia set to receive a major facelift, following AHPRA announces it will review the multi-million dollar industry.
The largely unregulated sector is currently under intense scrutiny following the recent Four corners program Cosmetic cowboys, who ‘uncovered allegations of disturbing practices‘in the aesthetic clinics of Dr Daniel Lanzer.
The fallout from the report was rapid.
Chief cosmetic surgeon and dermatologist by training, Dr Lanzer announced he will stop practicing medicine in Australia.
Meanwhile, senior associate Dr Daniel Aronov – who had the largest social media presence of any cosmetic doctor in the country before deleting his TikTok account – didn’t come out unscathed either; he was banned by the AHPRA to perform cosmetic surgery and also had a number of conditions imposed on his medical registration.
Dr Aronov is a general practitioner by training and obtained the Fellowship in 2017. However, it is interesting to note that in addition to being banned from cosmetic medicine and surgery, the restrictions imposed on his practice are all related to his ability to work as a general practitioner.
He is no longer able to work in general medicine unless he is supervised and must “consult and follow the instructions of the supervisor concerning the management of each patient before the delivery of care and must be directly observed by the supervisor who is physically present on the practice site at all times’.
It is not clear whether Dr Aronov continued to work as a GP while working with Dr Lanzer, but the fact that the restrictions imposed also affect his specialty should be a warning to GPs.
Unlike Dr Aronov, the rest of Dr Lanzer’s associates – most of whom, it seems, are not sub-specialists in any field, including general medicine – have so far managed to avoid a public trial by the media and the AHPRA.
While it is undeniable that the actions of Dr Lanzer and Dr Aronov require consideration and action, especially in light of the one of Dr. Aronov’s patients ends up in intensive care with postoperative hemorrhage following liposuctionGeneral practitioner and esthetician Dr Imaan Joshi believes “GPs are once again being dragged through the mud because of the actions of a handful of people.”
âThe main problem here is that many non-scholarship doctors are increasingly getting into aesthetics,â she said. gp news.
âThere’s no denying that Dr Aronov did the wrong thing, but why is the GP the default scapegoat? Why is there not more emphasis on non-scholarship physicians? “
Dr Joshi is concerned that the recent media coverage naming and humiliating Dr Aronov could affect public confidence in general medicine.
“There has been a slight erosion of the reputation of the GP for quite some time,” she said.
âGeneral practitioners now have below nurses, paramedics and pharmacists how trustworthy we are in the public eye. Although there are 40,000 of us, if a few of us go rogue, we are all in pain.
‘We [GPs] seem to be the punching bag for the media whenever something happens and in this case it appears that Dr Lanzer’s non-Fellow associates continued to operate even after he gave a binding agreement not to practice medicine in Australia.
âCommon sense and ethics would surely dictate that following such a devastating presentation, all the staff would press pause and think about what was wrong and how to avoid it in the future.
“Instead, they seem to have continued to function and within a few weeks the most prolific ended up in deep trouble and happened to be a member of general practice.”
The RACGP had previously raised concerns about the unregulated industry in 2015 in a letter to the Australian Medical Council.
In it, the college says it will support action to “strengthen the current guidelines for physicians performing cosmetic medical and surgical procedures through new practice-specific guidelines that clearly articulate the expectations of the Board to the regard to doctors â.
The Medical Commission thereafter published their guidelines in 2016.
The college also acknowledged in the letter that the training histories of people performing cosmetic procedures differ and therefore suggested that it would be advantageous if the industry could agree on a delineation of services based on the complexity of the procedures.
The latest AHPRA announcement should be of particular interest to GPs currently working in the industry as many cosmetic procedures such as injectable Botox and collagen treatments are often performed by an esthetician or nurse, even if she is under. the supervision of a general practitioner.
‘It’s time [for change] and I hope the AHPRA will investigate the non-surgical procedures as well, âsaid Dr Joshi. âMany are now training in nursing, for example, to get straight into injectables.
âYoung doctors are also choosing to do aesthetics on the side or bypass training programs to do aesthetics on a mobile basis. The whole industry needs an overhaul.
“I think there should be at least five years of training as a nurse or doctor to be able to operate independently in a regulated cosmetics industry.”
While there are still many unknowns to come, it is clear that the industry needs reform.
However, this reform must not be done to the detriment of the reputation of general practitioners, in particular those who work in the sector in an ethical manner and in compliance with the directives in force.
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