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Cosmetic surgeons are least trusted medical professionals

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Australians say cosmetic surgeons are the least trusted medical professionals, according to a new national survey commissioned by Slater and Gordon Lawyers.

The survey of more than 1,000 Australians asked which medical professionals the public trusts (and distrusts) most with cosmetic surgeons coming out on top as the least trusted. Cosmetic surgery can include procedures such as breast augmentations, liposuction, tummy tucks, buttock implant and lifts, fillers and botox.

The figures show that 37.8 per cent of people either had low or no trust of cosmetic surgeons, with only 18.6 per cent having a high level of trust.

Slater and Gordon Senior Medical Negligence Lawyer Anne Shortall said there was a very real fear of cosmetic surgeons

“Obviously people have these procedures to improve an aspect of their body they feel uncomfortable or insecure about,” Ms Shortall said. “If that procedure does not go to plan the impact on a person’s confidence and self-esteem can be hit and consequently impact their ability to trust.”

Interestingly, Australians had the most faith when receiving a vaccine with 63.7 per cent expressing a high level of trust and only 10.6 per cent saying they had little or no trust.

General Practitioners ranked well with 60.4 per cent saying they placed a high level of trust in a GP visit compared to 8.2 per cent who had low or no trust.

A total of 56.8 per cent registered a high level of trust in relation to emergency procedures, while 8.7 per cent had a low or no trust.

Finally, 31.2 per cent registered a high level of trust going into mental health consultations with 22.3 per cent of participants registering low or no trust.

Ms Shortall said seeking medical treatment could often be a stressful process - regardless of the procedure, surgery or consultation.

“Unfortunately, one negative experience at a clinic or hospital – or the experience of friends or family - can exacerbate anxiety and stress, leading to lifelong fears and aversions about a particular service,” she said.

Ms Shortall stressed that practices of cosmetic surgery have recently been tightened.

“Last October, the Medical Board of Australia introduced new guidelines, giving patients considering cosmetic surgery a seven-day cooling off period – this period has been extended to three months for patients under the age of 18,” she said.

Ms Shortall said it was important to note that in most cases cosmetic surgeons were not required to undertake the same level of rigorous training as plastic surgeons. She advised those considering cosmetic surgery to check the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons website to ensure their doctor had appropriate qualifications.

For more information on cosmetic procedures, go to the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons.

State-based survey statistics can also be provided on request.