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APAN strengthens risk management protocols to guard against litigations in salons and clinics

June 19, 2024

The new AHPRA and TGA advertising restrictions for cosmetic surgical and non-surgical procedures are creating a higher awareness to consumers to possibly investigate alternative treatment options.

This creates a growing opportunity to promote non-injectable anti-ageing treatments, as the forecast is that the demand for these services will increase.

  • With the high level of appearance enhancement able to be delivered sometimes instantly through injectable procedures, consumers have an expectation for visible results as quickly as possible.
  • This can place pressure on practitioners to increase their IPL or Laser setting to optimise their client’s expectations, and in doing so, the potential to raise the risks of adverse reactions will also increase.

Meanwhile, the incidents of adverse reactions from aesthetic devices are consistently on the rise at an alarming rate resulting in an increase in legal actions and ongoing court cases, some of which can last as much as 2-3 years.

  • APAN’s ongoing involvement with law firms who are seeking expert advice through comprehensive investigative reports has allowed us to identify certain recurring patterns that are contributing to the troubling frequency of these incidences.

“We are identifying consistent areas with a lack of sufficient protective protocols that are contributing to adverse reactions,” Tina Viney said.

“These incidents don’t just involve photo-therapy procedures such as IPL and Laser, but also other technologies such as HIFU, Plasma and even peels for skin lightening and pigmentation treatments,” Tina confirmed.

  • While some instances have occurred due to professional misconduct, others can occur through negligence or poor judgement of risk.
  • Contributing facts could be fatigue or pressure from impatient clients who are seeking to achieve quick improvement to their problems.

Let us review the difference, between negligence and professional misconduct as these two as they are quite different.


  • Negligence occurs when someone injures someone else or causes loss to them because of careless behaviour.
  • It can come about due to a person’s lack of care for the consequences of their actions or when someone uses less care than you’d expect from a reasonable person due to fatigue or external pressure that causes them to misjudge the level of safety expected of them.
  • Its legal definition for negligence is conduct that falls below the standard required to protect others against unreasonable risk of harm.
  • Negligence is commonplace. It can occur in people’s everyday lives.

Professional misconduct

  • On the other hand, professional misconduct applies to regulated professions.
  • It is a violation of the rules or boundaries set by the governing bodies of these professions.
  • It is more serious as it implies violating a regulation or industry best practice standards that the practitioner should be well-versed in for the safety of their client or patient.

At the recent Non-Surgical Symposium, many of these issues were addressed and expert presenters agreed that we are dealing with a very different client profile since the pandemic.

There are three areas of consideration that require that we step up our client/patient evaluation protocols. Be sure to closer examine these.

  • Client preconceived ideas of what a treatment can deliver for them.
  • Mental health issues with the increase in Body Dysmorphia Disorder (BDD) may contribute to unrealistic expectations.
  • Increase in systemic inflammation due to high levels of stress or underlying health issues and potential medication.

Risk management protocols

To help best support businesses to minimise potential risks of adverse reactions and litigations, APAN have drafted a new risk management protocols document.

  • This document is designed for business owners to include as an essential training program with their staff and included as part of their ethics and best practice standards that staff are required to comply with.

The APAN Risk management protocol document will be available from the 15th July free of charge to members or at a fee of $110 for non-members who wish to access this document.

How to access the document

This will also be available in our resource documents section on our website.

Further contact

If you are a current APAN member and wish to access your copy, please email contact us here with your full name and phone number so that we can forward the document to you.

I’m not a member what do I do?

If you’re not already a member, we invite you to join us and unlock these and other exclusive benefits.

Another important initiative in supporting our members against potential risks to their business.

If you wish to discuss your risk management concerns further, please feel free to phone APAN on 07 5593 0360.

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