Call for tougher regulation of day surgery clinics

Three of Australia’s leading medical groups have called for tougher regulations and regular safety and quality checks of day surgeries, including cosmetic centres, in an unprecedented joint statement.

The Australian and New Zealand College of Anaesthetists (ANZCA), the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) and the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) have endorsed a joint position paper Day Surgery in Australia.
The paper defines six day surgery minimum standards which ANZCA, RACS and the ASPS believe are crucial for the ongoing safety and quality of patient care in Australian day surgery facilities.
The standards cover facilities and equipment, staff and training, before, during and after surgery care, and documentation.
They include a proposal that all day surgery facilities be required to undergo regular monitoring and assessment by an external auditing authority to maintain their accreditation and compliance with national safety and quality healthcare standards.
Practitioners undertaking day surgery procedures would also be required to be appropriately skilled and trained.
ANZCA’s President Professor David A. Scott said the joint statement highlighted the urgency of ensuring that appropriate safeguards and mechanisms for safe sedation and surgery were strengthened and maintained for day surgery procedures across Australia.
“Our response is necessary given there have been increasing reports of serious patient harm associated with procedures performed in an ‘office setting’ where either intravenous sedation and/large and potentially toxic doses of local anaesthetic have been administered,’’ he said.
RACS President Mr John Batten commented, “Our position paper outlines the minimum standards upon which national, state and territory regulations for day surgery facilities should be based.’’
ASPS President Professor Mark Ashton said the standards defined in the joint statement would help guide the development of licencing and accreditation regulations in each state and territory to ensure that individuals or organisations “meet minimum standards to protect public health and safety.”
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