Australians who undergo cosmetic medical procedures that are offered independent of doctors and outside of appropriate clinical settings risk the likelihood of adverse results says the Cosmetic Physicians Society of Australasia (CPSA).

This month, the Western Australia Department of Health issued a warning to all patients who received cosmetic procedures at the home of a registered nurse to visit their General Practitioner as soon as possible for a blood test.

In its media release, dated 10 December 2012, the WA Department of Health advised that the warning followed an investigation of a possible infection control breach which could have exposed patients to blood-borne virus or bacterial infection.

Dr Gabrielle Caswell, President of the CPSA said: “We don’t think this is an isolated event, the CPSA is concerned this illegal and dangerous practice occurs with alarming regularity. The recent warning by the WA Department of Health is evidence that patients can be put at serious risk when best practices are not followed.”

Under Australian law and Medical Board guidelines, nurses are not permitted to administer such treatments, unless supervised by a doctor. The order for such administration may only be given after the doctor has completed a full medical history and examination of the patient and then prescribed the treatment.

In 2009 the CPSA released a Protocol for Delegated Cosmetic S4 Injections, which reinforces these guidelines and provides a framework for cosmetic physicians on how to appropriately delegate procedures to ensure that patient safety remains paramount.

“Cosmetic medicine has more than doubled over the past five years, with more people considering non-surgical cosmetic treatments due to increased access and affordability, unfortunately that growth is encouraging some to cash-in with what amounts to back-alley methods. People should be aware this is highly risky and if something goes wrong they’re highly unlikely to be able to get compensation because the person performing such treatments cannot avail of professional indemnity,” said Dr Caswell.

“The CPSA strongly advises patients in the first instance to go to a doctor who has a focus on these sort of treatments.

“The CPSA does not endorse the administration of Botulinum Toxin or dermal fillers by delegated injectors with a lesser qualification than registered nurse. All such registered nurse injectors must hold appropriate independent indemnity insurance, if not covered by the doctors’ practice insurance as employees, and legitimate registration in the state or territory in which they are working,” Dr Caswell said.

Patients that want to locate a doctor whose focus is the provision of cosmetic medicine, can visit to find a local practitioner.