Use of surgeon in professional titles in Australia

Patient safety must be enhanced by modifying current legal arrangements so as to:

  • Restrict use of surgeon as a title by itself and in combination with other qualifier or descriptor words to medical practitioners who have completed Australian Medical Council (AMC) accredited specialist training in the medical specialty of surgery. For clarity this does not refer to any training in surgery which may take place in a primary medical education program

Exceptions to this rule may be allowed for those in the following categories, in combination with the qualifier or descriptor words as described:

  • Those who have completed AMC accredited specialist training in obstetrics and gynaecology or ophthalmology in combination with relevant qualifier or descriptor words which accurately describe their scope of practice – e.g. ophthalmic surgeon
  • General practitioners in areas of need, where other medical specialists are less accessible, and when they have attained their qualifications via AMC accredited courses which include a surgical component in combination with the words GP or General Practitioner – i.e  GP Surgeon

Additional exceptions may be made for:

  • Professions for which there is little chance that the public may be misled or deceived into believing that a person in that profession provides human healthcare services – such as tree surgery or veterinary surgery.
  • Non-medical health specialties approved by the Health Council as of January 2021 whose titles include the word surgeon, as long as the full specialist title is used