The need for such a legal amendment became evident after years of reports documenting the harm inflicted upon patients by underqualified individuals conducting surgical procedures. Under this new legislation, practitioners using the title 'surgeon' without the requisite accredited surgical training can face up to three years in prison and a $60,000 fine. 
The Queensland Parliament is the host jurisdiction for the National Law. This means now that the Amendment Bill has been passed in Queensland Parliament the changes will automatically apply in most states and territories after assent.  
RACS President, Associate Professor Kerin Fielding, commented on this pivotal moment, saying, "We welcome the Queensland government’s announcement. Restricting who can use the title ‘surgeon’ is a commendable step that will eliminate the confusion faced by patients and add a layer of safety when it comes to choosing a surgeon. Too often patients undergo surgery under the false assumption about the standard of training of the person carrying out the surgery. These changes will help maintain public confidence in the high standards of our health system. 
“We are also pleased to see that legislation will now establish powers to prosecute or take disciplinary action against persons who unlawfully take or use a protected title in relation to surgery or claim that they or another person hold a type of registration or endorsement in cosmetic surgery that they do not.”  
RACS President Associate Professor Kerin Fielding said that the College had been working with specialty societies advocating for this restriction for more than a decade. 
“Our advocacy efforts resulted in the tightening of policy by Ahpra predominantly in the fields of specialty practice for surgery and which medical professionals could call themselves specialist surgeons. The additional restriction is much needed but must be confined to only specialist medical practitioners who have completed the rigorous surgical training approved by an Australian Medical Council (AMC) accredited college that provides specialist surgical training such as RACS,” added Associate Professor Kerin Fielding. 
Specialist surgeons have a primary medical degree and five or six years of training in one of the RACS specialties. This training includes a significant surgical component that provides the professional, physiological, ethical, psychological, pharmacological and medical expertise to safely diagnose, treat and manage surgical patients. This includes knowing the medical conditions that preclude surgery, awareness of associated conditions that will influence surgical management choices, managing appropriate referrals for complex care and performing all aspects of postoperative care, including correcting complications. 
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About the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS) 

RACS is the leading advocate for surgical standards, professionalism and surgical education in Australia and Aotearoa New Zealand. The College is a not-for-profit organisation that represents more than 7000 surgeons and 1300 surgical trainees and Specialist International Medical Graduates. RACS also supports healthcare and surgical education in the Asia-Pacific region and is a substantial funder of surgical research. There are nine surgical specialties in Australasia being: Cardiothoracic Surgery, General Surgery, Neurosurgery, 
Orthopaedic Surgery, Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, Paediatric Surgery, Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Urology and Vascular Surgery.