Monday, August 28, 2006

Cosmetic surgery ban: More Leftist paternalism from the government of New South Wales

Teenager will be banned from having Botox or collagen injections under sweeping changes aimed at reining in the burgeoning cosmetic surgery industry. The Sunday Telegraph can reveal the State Government is planning to introduce regulations making it more difficult for people under 18 to undergo purely cosmetic procedures.

The changes have been personally driven by Premier Morris Iemma, who was disturbed when Big Brother contestant Krystal Forscutt, 20, promoted her breast-enhancement surgery. His intervention follows instances of teenagers as young as 15 turning up in cosmetic-surgery clinics across Sydney, requesting "Jessica Simpson" noses, breast implants, liposuction and Botox and collagen injections. Under the proposed changes, teenagers will be required to obtain a referral from a GP before seeing a plastic surgeon - and to undergo counselling. Surgeons will require the consent of the teenager's parents and will be forced to offer a minimum one-month cooling-off period before a procedure can be undertaken.

Mr Iemma said serious debate was needed about whether cosmetic surgery was appropriate for teenagers. "As a parent of a young daughter, I have become increasingly concerned that society's obsession with the perfect female body is influencing too many, too young," he said. "We need to send a strong message that young women will be valued for who they are, not what they look like. It used to be the case that the biggest question parents faced was whether to give their children permission to have their ears pierced. "Then it was tattoos. But, increasingly, parents are being asked to fund breast implants or a nose job as birthday or graduation gifts."

No figures on procedures are kept in Australia, but surgeons say the trend is on the rise.According to the American Society of Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeons, 326,000 cosmetic procedures in 2004 were on teenagers. They included 13,000 ear pinnings (otoplasty), almost 52,000 nose reshapings (rhinoplasty), nearly 4000 breast implants and 3000 liposuction procedures. In NSW, teenagers pay as much as $10,000 for breast implants and from $4000 to $7000 for nose jobs. Surgeons contacted by The Sunday Telegraph were concerned at the trend, which they said had been driven by "airbrushed" teenagers in magazines and reality shows. One surgeon said schoolgirls often arrived at his clinic clutching magazine clippings of celebrities such as Jennifer Lopez. Some teenagers viewed cosmetic surgery as an answer to low self-esteem and schoolyard bullying, he said.

The surgeons, all members of the Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons, said most reputable doctors would not perform cosmetic surgery, other than otoplasty and rhinoplasty, on teenagers. But they conceded there were "cowboys" in the industry. Sydney plastic surgeon Tim Papadopoulos said the number of teenagers booked in for consultations for cosmetic surgery procedures had risen from one a month five years ago to one a week. Double Bay cosmetic surgeon Kourosh Tavakoli has received e-mails from girls as young as 13 pleading to have surgery. He said more parents today tended to encourage surgery. "I've also had a 15-year-old wanting breast augmentation. I won't do it on anyone still at school, but there are doctors who will."

Former Australian Society of Plastic Surgeons president Norm Olbourne said most of the teenagers who visited his Chatswood clinic wanted breast reductions and nose reshapings. "There are girls wanting breast enlargements, although I've never seen a girl under 18 wanting one who didn't come in holding her mother's hand," Dr Olbourne said.

Krystal Forscutt, who was 19 when she appeared on Big Brother, said she supported Mr Iemma's proposal for counselling under-18s. "I get young girls asking about my boob job. Some of them want me to recommend a doctor," she told The Sunday Telegraph. "But what I say to them is you can't get self-confidence from an operation. It comes from within." Ms Forscutt said she did not want to be seen as a poster girl for plastic surgery, despite having had a breast enhancement at 19. "It's a minute part of who I am. I'm more than just a pair of fake tits," the 20-year-old said. "It's major surgery, and there are side-effects. Because I got mine done so young, this isn't the end of it for me. I'll have three or four more operations as I get older."

People going overseas for cheap plastic surgery have been issued with a warning by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Australian embassies have reported a rise in calls from patients who suffered infections or complications after procedures.


Australian men are the good guys with women

They're obsessed with footy, love a beer and enjoy hanging out with their mates, but Aussie blokes are also among the most faithful in the world. An international survey of 40,000 men has revealed 60 per cent of Australian men have never strayed, ranking just behind the Germans and Poles at 62 per cent. The poll, for Men's Health magazine found Britons spent the most time on foreplay, but flopped when it came to endurance, with Mexicans coming first for stamina in the bedroom. South Korean men are having sex more times a week than anyone else in the world, while hot-blooded Brazilian men are at it with a wider range of women.

On average, South Koreans said they were having sex at least four times a week, while Filipinos were world-beaters at masturbation, doing it almost six times a week. Brazilians topped two categories, with 19 per cent saying they had had a threesome, which might help account for them having clocked up the most lovers, the internationally published fitness magazine said. British men spend or claim to spend an average of 17.44 minutes on foreplay per sex session, longer than Australians (17.2 mins), Germans (16.92 mins) and Mexicans (16.91 mins). But British men last only 18.64 minutes from foreplay to climax, far behind the Mexicans (23.17 minutes) and the Dutch (22.42 minutes).

Women might want to keep an eye out for an Italian lover 60 per cent of Italian men said they made their partner climax every time.


Do-gooder idiocy

Childcare workers have been instructed not to use the words "no" and "don't" because it is feared they will stunt a child's development. The terms "good boy" and "good girl" are also frowned on as they are considered sexist. The rules -- taught to childcare students -- have angered Australian Family Association campaigners, who say it's another example of out-of-control political correctness. And some childcare workers fear the guidelines are not allowing "children to be children" and refuse to obey them.

The controversial rules are part of the nationally-accredited TAFE Certificate III in Children's Services. A Gold Coast childcare worker, who did not want to be named, said staff were told to use alternatives like "stop" to discipline a child so "we don't stunt a child's mental growth". "We also say 'good work' or 'congratulations' when a child has done well to avoid discriminating between sexes," she said. "I think it's absolutely ludicrous, and a lot of childcare workers are secretly refusing to follow the rules."

Australian Family Association state secretary Angelique Barr said: "I think people are always looking for new rules to bring in to justify their jobs. My son's first words were 'no' and 'don't', and he's a well-adjusted child. "I don't think it hurts a child at all to be told 'no', particularly if you explain to him or her why they shouldn't do something."

A childcare worker in Brisbane said: "Every childcare worker in Australia knows that you can't say certain words to a child, because that's what they teach us as part of our work ethics. It's just one of the many things that has been taken over by political correctness, and sadly it means that children are not really allowed to be children any more."

Brisbane mum-of-three Kath Terry, 37, said the rules were ridiculous. "I say 'good girl' and 'good boy' to my children all the time -- sexual discrimination just doesn't come into it."

A spokesman for Employment and Training Minister Tom Barton said TAFE Queensland taught childcare workers to use positive instructions, instead of the words "no" or "don't". "Instead of saying 'don't run' they would say 'remember, walking inside'," he said. However, "no" or "don't" were appropriate for extreme behaviour, such as biting. Instead of "good boy" and "good girl", specific behaviour was praised to reinforce it and let children know why they were being praised.

However, childcare workers said the rules were the latest in a long line of changes forced on the industry including an "obsessive" new hand-washing policy and anti-discrimination classes for toddlers.


Underqualified nurses recruited by a desperate government hospital

Hundreds of British nurses due to start work in Queensland hospitals as soon as October may be not be up to scratch by standards here.

In a massive recruitment drive, executives from Cairns Base Hospital are scouring Britain for nurses, offering thousands of dollars in relocation assistance. And they say they'll take on anyone who applies. "There's no way I'll be turning anyone away," Cairns Base Hospital nursing director Glynda Summers said.

However, a former Cairns Base nurse who now works in the UK said British nursing standards were not a patch on those practised in Australian hospitals. She said many of the British nurses would not have had the same basic training. Skills such as intravenous drug administration, catheterisation and the use of cardiographs were standard requirements for Australian nurses, but in Britain they were considered extra qualifications. "Most of them won't have that training. Basically, skill levels are much lower," she said.

The nurse said she believed many of the workers entering Queensland hospitals would be those deemed not good enough for the British National Health Service. "Many new recruits may fall short of the proficiency mark," said the nurse, 40, who did not wish to be named. "The British National Health Service has drastically reduced the number of nursing positions, but it would be fair to say any good practitioner who wanted to remain working in the UK wouldn't have a problem. "There will be a few who want a lifestyle change, but what about the others?"

After placing advertisements in the UK press, Ms Summers leaves for Britain tomorrow with nurse manager Denise Wilds and intensive care nurse Carol Martheze on a three-week recruitment campaign. "We'll take them all. The opportunities are limitless because we're recruiting for the state," Ms Summers said. A Cairns Base Hospital statement said more than 180 applications had already been received. The hospital has 51 nursing vacancies and a further 90 nursing jobs expected to open up soon. Telephone interviews have been conducted and new recruits had been enticed with packages including $3000 toward relocation costs, visa application expenses, salaries of up to $53,000 and free medical cover.

Admitting she was capitalising on widespread nursing job losses throughout Britain, Ms Summers said: "Why not?" "It's good for us and it's good for the nurses who don't have jobs." A Queensland Health spokesperson said all checks and procedures would be followed before applicants could register with the Queensland Nursing Council.


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