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

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By Stuart Eustice, Partner & Holly White, Lawyer

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Buckland [2023] VCAT 240 (8 March 2023)
A nurse was reprimanded, had her registration cancelled, and disqualified from re-registration for three years after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. The nurse had been found guilty of criminal offences on two occasions however had failed to inform Ahpra of the charges or guilty findings, and failed to disclose her change in criminal history in two registration renewals. Registered practitioners are required to notify Ahpra within 7 days of being charged with any offence which is potentially punishable by 12 months or more imprisonment.

Medical Board of Australia v Gruner [2022] VCAT 1451 (17 March2023)
Gruner is one of the 43 registered practitioners investigated by Ahpra following a cluster of avoidable newborn and stillborn deaths at Bacchus Marsh Hospital between 2013 – 2014 subject of the Wallace Report. She was the Consultant Director of Medical Services at the relevant time and was found to have continued in the position in circumstances where she knew or ought to have known she could not adequately fulfil the requirements of the position to ensure the safe delivery of clinical services. The Tribunal found there were deficiencies in her performance in ensuring the safe delivery of clinical services including relating to performance reviews, record keeping, credentialing and scope of practice of medical officers and failing to address identified risks. The doctor was reprimanded, had her registration cancelled and disqualified from re-registration for 10 years after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. At the date of hearing, the doctor was 74 years old, held a non-practising registration and had retired from clinical practice. Nevertheless, a period of disqualification was appropriate in the interests of general deterrence and maintaining standards in the profession and public confidence. A period of ten years was deemed appropriate due to the unprecedented seriousness of the events at the hospital.

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