New Medical Board Guidelines for Cosmetic Procedures – effective October 2016

10 May 2016

Ally Alker and Karen McMahon

by Ms Alyson Alker and Ms Karen McMahon

Female patient having a cosmetic consultation

New Guidelines released by the Medical Board apply to all medical practitioners who perform cosmetic procedures from 1 October 2016.

The guidelines impose significant new obligations particularly for patients under the age of 18.

For any patient aged less than 18 years, there is a mandatory cooling off period of at least:

  • 3 months for major procedures which involve cutting beneath the skin
  • 7 days for minor procedures.  

For patients under 18 years, a referral must be made to a psychologist, psychiatrist or GP who works independently of the medical practitioner to evaluate any underlying psychological problems before any major procedure.

For adult patients, there should be a cooling off period of at least 7 days, other than for minor procedures. A referral should be made to a psychologist, psychiatrist or GP who works independently of the medical practitioner, if there are indications that the patient has significant underlying psychological problems.

Schedule 4 (prescription only) cosmetic injectables must not be prescribed by a medical practitioner unless they have consulted with the patient either in person or by video. The prescribing practitioner must be contactable and able to respond if not administering the injection themselves.

The guidelines also make clear that the medical practitioner must ensure there are adequate staff, facilities and equipment to provide emergency care and treatment during and after a procedure. Adequate written information must be given to patients on discharge, including the medical practitioner’s contact details. 

Medical practitioners who perform cosmetic procedures are advised to review and be aware of their obligations under the guidelines. 


This blog contains general information only. We recommend you contact your medical defence organisation or insurer when you require specific advice in relation to medico-legal matters.



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