From March 2017 it became a requirement for any facility in NSW undertaking certain cosmetic procedures (except dental) to be licensed.

Any procedures meeting the definition of cosmetic surgery in the NSW Private Health Facilities Regulation 2017 is only to be undertaken in private facilities licensed in accordance with the Private Health Facilities Act 2007 .

Cosmetic surgery to occur in a licensed facility is defined as

  1. any cosmetic surgical procedure that is intended to alter or modify a person's appearance or body and that involves anaesthesia (including a Bier block),
    (Anaesthesia in (a) means: the administration of general, epidural or major regional anaesthetic or sedation resulting in more than conscious sedation, other than sedation provided in connection with dental procedures)
  2. any of the following surgical procedures (however described, regardless of the level of anaesthesia or whether a patient is admitted or not):
    1. abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)
    2. belt lipectomy
    3. brachioplasty (armlift)
    4. breast augmentation or reduction
    5. buttock augmentation, reduction or lift
    6. calf implants
    7. facial implants that involve inserting an implant on the bone or surgical exposure to deep tissue
    8. fat transfer that involves the transfer of more than 2.5 litres of lipoaspirate
    9. liposuction that involves the removal of more than 2.5 litres of lipoaspirate
    10. mastopexy or mastopexy augmentation
    11. necklift
    12. pectoral implants
    13. penis augmentation
    14. rhinoplasty (other than revision rhinoplasty)
    15. superficial musculoaponeurotic system facelift (SMAS facelift)
    16. vaginoplasty or labiaplasty

  3. but does not include any dental procedure.
    (Breast reduction includes the procedure for the condition of gynaecomastia)

These requirements were introduced following serious incidents involving cosmetic surgery in NSW in unlicensed facilities. These legislative requirements are aimed at protecting the public, directly relate to clinical care and safety, and to the safety of the premises where procedures are performed.

Facilities that perform any of these procedures must be licensed

Cosmetic surgical procedures are subject to the same licensing standards that currently apply to all licensed private health facilities. The general licensing standards are set out in Schedule 1 of the Private Health Facilities Regulation 2017 and the associated licensing standards that apply to the cosmetic surgery class are detailed in Schedule 2 of the Regulation.

Monitoring of unlicensed private facilities performing cosmetic surgery in NSW

The Ministry's Regulation and Compliance Unit monitors compliance with the cosmetic surgery legislation in unlicensed facilities.

It is an offence to conduct an unlicensed private health facility. If the Ministry receives information that a premises may be conducting an unlicensed private health facility, the Ministry does have powers (and uses them) to enter and inspect the premises and, if there is sufficient evidence, to prosecute the operator.

Enforcement powers under the Private Health Facilities Act 2007

Part 5 sections 50, 51A,51B and 52 of the Private Health Facilities Act 2007 gives authorised officers the powers to:

  • enter and inspect licensed and unlicensed premises
  • require answers from the licensee, or operators of an unlicensed premises
  • provide information and documents to authorised officers
  • issue improvement notices.

More information

Regulation and Compliance Unit
Telephone: +61 2 9424 5955
Postal Address: (please note email correspondence is preferred)
Locked Mail Bag 2030, St Leonards NSW 1590

Current as at: Wednesday 9 February 2022
Contact page owner: Private Health Care