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Reaction to the Choice Survey from other media


Call to target rogues in nip 'n' tuck trade

[Published by The Australian February 25th 2009]
CONSUMER group Choice is warning people shopping around for cosmetic surgery to check doctors' qualifications and experience after a woman it sent undercover was told she stood a better chance of finding a partner if her breasts were enlarged. Choice magazine says in today's edition that the survey turned up these and other "appalling examples of unprofessional conduct", and calls for both consumer caution and a regulatory crackdown.



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CONSUMER group Choice is warning people shopping around for cosmetic surgery to check doctors' qualifications and experience after a woman it sent undercover was told she stood a better chance of finding a partner if her breasts were enlarged.
On three occasions the woman, one of three secret shoppers sent by Choice to evaluate cosmetic surgery practices, was given unsolicited brochures offering loans to finance the breast procedure, which is not covered under Medicare.
At one of the 12 clinics the woman visited to discuss a possible breast enlargement, she was shown a sales consultant's breasts as an example of the doctor's work; at others she was told she needed the procedure.

She was even offered a discount if she agreed to pose for "before and after" photographs to be posted on the internet.
Choice magazine says in today's edition that the survey turned up these and other "appalling examples of unprofessional conduct", and calls for both consumer caution and a regulatory crackdown.
"Telling someone that they 'needed' (a breast augmentation), or that it would improve their chance of getting a boyfriend -- that's the sort of thing you would expect to see on a comedy show, not in a doctor's surgery," Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said.
"We want to see better regulation and outcomes for patients.

Until then, our best advice is to make sure of the qualifications and experience of any cosmetic surgeon you are considering, and to educate yourself as to the risks of any procedures."


Sent by Choice, the women made 38 visits to 30 cosmetic surgery clinics in Sydney and Brisbane, with each woman enquiring about either breast augmentation, fat-removing liposuction or wrinkle-reducing Botox treatment.


The content of the consultations was later scrutinised by experts from the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, who are all members of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons.
The surgeons rated the advice given about breast augmentation as "particularly bad" on the grounds that the mystery shopper was not fully briefed on the risks of side effects such as bleeding, infection, leakage or scarring.
While advice given about liposuction was rated as generally sound, the experts said Choice's "patient" did not fit the normal criteria and should have been advised to have a tummy tuck instead.

Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery president Daniel Fleming said the women's treatment amounted to "unacceptable practice" that was not consistent with its code.

"We agree that there should be greater regulation of cosmetic surgery, and that's why we have applied to the Australian Medical Council for recognition, so every doctor working in cosmetic surgery will be able to have their qualifications assessed."


Dodgy doctors push breast implants to snag boyfriends

[Published by the Melbourne Herald Sun 25th February 2009]
DODGY doctors are telling women to get bigger breasts to snag boyfriends.

An undercover survey has caught unethical clinics pressuring clients into cosmetic surgery. Consumer group Choice's secret operation discovered women seeking consultations for breast surgery, liposuction and botox were often not informed of all risks.

 

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DODGY doctors are telling women to get bigger breasts to snag boyfriends.
An undercover survey has caught unethical clinics pressuring clients into cosmetic surgery.
One woman was shown the breasts of a sales consultant as an example of a doctor's handiwork.
Another was told she had a better chance of finding a partner with a larger bosom.
Consumer group Choice's secret operation discovered women seeking consultations for breast surgery, liposuction and botox were often not informed of all risks.
Finance companies and brokers were making expensive loan offers to potential patients, Choice warns.
Australians spend at least $130 million on breast augmentation and liposuction each year.
Victorian Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson said allegedly botched surgery had left some patients looking mutilated.
The commission has received 74 complaints about cosmetic procedures, including facelifts, breast and nose jobs, and laser treatment, since 2006.
Ms Wilson said some doctors preyed on people with fragile self-esteem.

Medical practitioners were obliged to ensure full consent by explaining surgery risks.
Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said tougher regulations were needed to rein in cowboys after visits to 30 cosmetic surgery clinics in Sydney and Brisbane exposed examples of unprofessional conduct.
The Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons says many doctors without specialist training are advertising themselves as industry leaders.
The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery, which provides two years of specialist training to doctors with at least three years' surgical experience, wants the field recognised as a medical specialty to help set consistent standards.
Ms Wilson said consumers should discuss potential surgery with an independent GP before making decisions.
Patients should also check their doctor's qualifications and experience, she said.


Cosmetic surgery: 'Appalling examples of unprofessional conduct'

[Published by ABC News 25th February 2009 ]
Consumer advocate group Choice is calling for more regulation of cosmetic surgery procedures to better protect those seeking treatment.

 

FULL ARTICLE-
Consumer advocate group Choice is calling for more regulation of cosmetic surgery procedures to better protect those seeking treatment.
An investigation by Choice involved three women going to 30 clinics in Sydney and Brisbane seeking breast augmentation, liposuction and botox injections.
Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn says one of the most appalling examples of unprofessional conduct involved a woman seeking breast implants.
"This was where the woman in one case was shown the breasts of one of the sales consultants as an example of the doctors' handiwork, was told she actually needed to have the surgery done, was offered a discount if she agreed to before and after photographs of her breasts being published on the internet, and was even told that if she had the breast enlargement it would increase her chances of finding a boyfriend," Mr Zinn said.
The Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery agrees there needs to be further regulation and more transparency for consumers.
Its president, Doctor Daniel Fleming, says the College is still working on a code of conduct despite the first draft being knocked back by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
"It's quite normal for a draft decision for the ACCC to say 'we want you to make some changes before we approve it'," Dr Fleming said.
"We're quite happy with the changes they've asked for, we're resubmitting the code within three weeks and we're absolutely confident the code will be approved by the ACCC and it will be the first and only code that will give consumers transparency in cosmetic surgery in this country."


Rip-offs and risks of cosmetic surgery revealed

[Published by the Daily Telegraph 25th February 2009]
YOU need a boob job. It will boost your chances of finding a man.

Check out my sales consultant's breasts - look what it's done for her.

Did I mention the discount for allowing before-and-after pictures to be posted on the web?
These are the hard-sell tactics revealed in an investigation into cosmetic surgery.


FULL ARTICLE –
YOU need a boob job.

It will boost your chances of finding a man.

Check out my sales consultant's breasts - look what it's done for her. Did I mention the discount for allowing before-and-after pictures to be posted on the web?
These are the hard-sell tactics revealed in an investigation into cosmetic surgery.
It was conducted by consumer group Choice, which sent three women to 30 clinics - half in Sydney, half in Brisbane, where most cosmetic surgery is performed in Australia.
The women inquired about liposuction, breast augmentation and Botox.
Choice spokesman Christopher Zinn said the most remarkable statement to any of the women was that she would have an improved chance of finding a partner if she had her breasts enlarged.
"It's incredibly surprising that a doctor would say that. Talk about playing to people's insecurities," Mr Zinn said.
Most concerning was failure to explain the dangers, such as leakage and scarring.

"Given the known risks and the unwillingness of some cosmetic surgeons to discuss them, there needs to be stronger regulation," Mr Zinn said.
In some states, promotion via before and after pictures is banned and in Queensland cosmetic practitioners can't call themselves surgeons.
That is reserved for fellows of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons such as plastic surgeons.
In NSW, the recommendations of a 1999 inquiry into cosmetic surgery weren't implemented. As a result, lasers can be used without a licence and beauty clinics can inject Botox.
This month the head of that cosmetic surgery inquiry said the field was still "cowboy country".
"I don't understand why governments have been so tardy in their response to the inquiry we did a decade ago," said Merrilyn Walton, who ran the inquiry and is now director of patient safety at the office of postgraduate medical education in the University of Sydney's Faculty of Medicine.
"Many cosmetic surgery practices have been devoid of the normal protective mechanisms in medicine.

From the patients' perspective, they need the same safeguards whether they're in cosmetic surgery or being treated for an illness.

It's still cutting the skin," she said.
Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery president Daniel Fleming said: "We do not condone this kind of behaviour. It is unacceptable."

Code for cosmetic surgeons rejected

[Published by the Canberra Times 25th February 2009]
A DRAFT code of conduct proposed by cosmetic surgeons has been rejected by the competition watchdog on the grounds it fails to provide consumers with sufficient protection.
The draft determination was handed down yesterday by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as the consumer advocate group Choice was preparing to release its investigation into cosmetic surgery practices, which found what it described as "appalling examples of unprofessional conduct" in the industry.

FULL ARTICLE –
A DRAFT code of conduct proposed by cosmetic surgeons has been rejected by the competition watchdog on the grounds it fails to provide consumers with sufficient protection.

The draft determination was handed down yesterday by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission as the consumer advocate group Choice was preparing to release its investigation into cosmetic surgery practices, which found what it described as "appalling examples of unprofessional conduct" in the industry.

Breast augmentation, liposuction and Botox were requested by three women engaged by Choice to consult 30 cosmetic surgery clinics across NSW and Queensland.

The investigation found that many of the clinics failed to inform the women of all the risks of surgery, the standard of proof of practitioners' qualifications was patchy and that some providers engaged in coercive behaviour to persuade the women to undergo surgery.

The woman seeking breast augmentation was told by one practitioner that the proposed surgery was necessary before offering her a price discount if she agreed to have before and after photographs published on the internet.

At another clinic she was told she would increase her chances of finding a partner if she went ahead with the procedure and at three clinics she was given brochures offering loans to fund the surgery, which is not covered by Medicare or most private health insurers.

The majority of clinics approved liposuction - which is potentially life-threatening - and even attempted to "upsell" additional cosmetic surgery.

Choice's Christopher Zinn said people considering invasive cosmetic treatments needed to be aware that the difference between a cosmetic surgeon and a plastic surgeon could be up to eight years specialist training, and the largely unregulated industry was clearly in need of stronger legislation.

But the Australasian College of Cosmetic Surgery has dismissed Choice's findings as biased, with its president, Dr Daniel Fleming, saying no proof was provided that any of the clinics visited in the survey were run by members of his college.

In its written response to submissions to the ACCC, the college accused the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons of making spurious and undermining claims as part of an ongoing turf war.

The ACCC's chairman, Graeme Samuel, said disclosure requirements over practitioners' qualifications and experience were still insufficient and the code lacked a clear transparent complaints handling process.

There were also concerns over the industry's use of testimonials, he said.