A snapshot of registered health practitioner misconduct in Victoria: February 2023

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By Stuart Eustice, Partner, Holly White, Lawyer, & Zoe Vlahogiannis, Lawyer

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Ramayanam [2023] VCAT 90 (30 January 2023) A nurse who was engaged in post-graduate studies was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for three years after the Tribunal found that she had engaged in professional misconduct. The Tribunal determined that the nurse falsified clinical records, accessed and published a patient’s confidential health information, fraudulently altered a letter by her supervisor (among other things, to falsely indicate that she had achieved certain clinical competencies) and sent the altered letter to her university. It was further determined that the nurse provided false and/or misleading information to the Board and its investigators.

Medical Board of Australia v Giorgio [2023] VCAT 50 (31 January 2023) A retired obstetrician and gynaecologist was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 12 months after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. He had not practised since October 2020. Broadly, there were three categories of misconduct:

  1. Between 2016 and 2018, the doctor had inappropriately prescribed both Schedule 4 and Schedule 8 poisons (including Oxycodone) to family members and for self-administration. He also failed to maintain adequate clinical records.
  2. Relating to treatment of an autistic female child, including failing to seek informed consent from the child’s guardians, suggesting the child had been sexually abused without adequate experience or knowledge and failing to refer her to the Royal Children’s Hospital for forensic examination.
  3. Failing to adequately communicate with two other patients and a colleague, failing to obtain informed consent prior to an examination and making inappropriate comments.

Psychology Board of Australia v Ross [2023] VCAT 110 (9 February 2023) A psychologist was reprimanded after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct by failing to maintain professional boundaries with a patient, failing to keep accurate records and delaying termination of the therapeutic relationship. He had allowed his registration to lapse in 2021, although had effectively not practised since 2019 when immediate action was taken imposing conditions on his registration.

Medical Board of Australia v Karim [2023] VCAT 171 (21 February 2023) A medical practitioner was reprimanded after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct after hugging and kissing a patient in his consulting room. The patient reported the incident to Victoria Police and the medical practitioner was convicted of unlawful assault. The Tribunal suspended the medical practitioner’s registration for nine months and imposed conditions on his registration that he undertake an education program in regarding professional boundaries.

Osteopathy Board of Australia v Zoch [2023] VCAT 198 (24 February 2023) An osteopath was reprimanded after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. The osteopath failed to maintain professional indemnity insurance (‘PII’) for a period of approximately 2 years 7 months, and during this period falsely indicated that she held PII. The osteopath self-notified AHPRA when she became aware of her failure to maintain PII and the Tribunal determined that her registration be subject to a condition that she provide a certificate of currency regard her professional indemnity insurance (‘PII’) on an annual basis (subject to a five year review).

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