A snapshot of registered health practitioner misconduct in Victoria:
November 2023 – January 2024

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By Stuart Eustice, Partner, Holly White, Associate

Psychology Board of Australia v Gorman [2023] VCAT 1305 (27 November 2023)

A psychologist was reprimanded after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct by commencing an intimate and sexual relationship with a former client within two years after the termination of the professional relationship.

Medical Board of Australia v GMZ [2023] VCAT 1308 (28 November 2023)

An unidentified practitioner was reprimanded, disqualified from re-applying for registration for three years and prohibited for three years from providing any health service involving direct access to or handling of Schedule 4 or Schedule 8 poisons and/or care to any person which would fall under the definition of ‘health service’ requiring registration after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The practitioner’s conduct occurred in the context of a Zolpidem (a sedative-hypnotic, commonly known by the brand name, Ambien) addiction and severe depression and he had issued prescriptions in the names of patients and family members for his own use. The practitioner had engaged in similar conduct and come before the Tribunal in the past after pleading guilty to related criminal offences. The practitioner had been allowed to practice with strict conditions however addiction behaviours recommenced within five weeks of the conditions being lifted. The practitioner surrendered his registration in mid-2019.

Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia v Remandaban [2023] VCAT 1303 (4 December 2023)

A nurse was reprimanded and had mentoring conditions imposed on her registration after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. The nurse had misappropriated various cannulation items from her employer and obtained, supplied and administered Glutanex Drip (a beauty product which is a Schedule 4 poison not authorised for use in Australia, it is popular in Asia for skin whitening) to herself and a friend (also a nurse).

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Mallows [2023] VCAT 1357 (7 December 2023)

A nurse was reprimanded and disqualified from re-applying for registration for two years after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. The nurse had dishonestly misappropriated schedule 4 and 8 poisons from her employer for self-use. She plead guilty to criminal charges relating to the conduct and self-reported to the Board. The nurse was found to have a moderate opiate use disorder and a significant history of major depressive disorder in the context of chronic pain and deteriorating health. The nurse had not worked since allowing her registration to lapse in June 2020.

Physiotherapy Board of Australia v Nasser [2023] VCAT 1364 (8 December 2023)

A physiotherapist was reprimanded, disqualified from re-applying for registration for eight years and prohibited from providing any health service until he is registered after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The physiotherapist had failed to ensure proper boundaries and ensure the privacy of his patient, inappropriately touched the patient including digital penetration, failed to comply with adequate infection prevention and control measures and failed to maintain adequate clinical records. The physiotherapist had been prohibited from treating female patients since immediate action was taken by the Board in January 2020.

Nursing & Midwifery Board of Australia v Brar [2023] VCAT 1371 (12 December 2023)

A nurse was reprimanded, had her registration cancelled, disqualified from re-applying for registration for four years and prohibited from providing any health service until she is registered after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct in July 2020. The nurse failed to follow public health advice to self-isolate after undertaking a COVID test, failed to disclose to her employer she had received a positive test and was displaying symptoms and attended work after testing positive. The nurse had also provided misleading information to the Department of Health and Human Services about her movements during her infectious and isolation period.

Pharmacy Board of Australia v Tawadros [2023] VCAT 1380 (12 December 2023)

A pharmacist was reprimanded, had his registration cancelled and was disqualified from re-applying for registration for one year after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The pharmacist had failed to supply a prescription medication to a patient and transgressed professional boundaries with three patients including sending inappropriate messages on social media, hugging patients by way of greeting and offering to sell prescription medication on the street.

Pharmacy Board of Australia v Lam [2023] VCAT 1392 (14 December 2023)

A pharmacist was reprimanded, had her registration cancelled and disqualified from re-applying for registration for three years after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. The pharmacist had conducted inappropriate personal relationships with two elderly patients yielding significant financial benefits to her and a sexual relationship with a third.

Psychology Board of Australia v Saxone [2023] VCAT 1395 (19 December 2023)

A psychologist was reprimanded, had his registration cancelled, was disqualified from re-applying for registration for four years and prohibited from providing mental health, psychological or counselling services for four years after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The psychologist transgressed professional boundaries with two patients (including sexual boundaries with one), failed to keep adequate clinical records and provided sub-standard psychological care.

Pharmacy Board of Australia v Rest [2023] VCAT 1397 (20 December 2023)

A pharmacist was reprimanded, suspended from practice for two months and had educational and mentoring conditions imposed on his registration after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The pharmacist had inappropriately dispensed Schedule 4 and 8 poisons and failed to comply with conditions imposed on his registration.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Gardner [2024] VCAT 15 (8 January 2024)

A nurse was cautioned after the Tribunal found he had engaged in unprofessional conduct after failing to provide appropriate nursing care to an incontinent patient by aggressively asking “what are you doing?” and saying “this is ridiculous”.

Medical Board of Australia v Datta [2024] VCAT 28 (10 January 2024)

In July 2022, a doctor was reprimanded, disqualified from re-applying for registration for four years and prohibited from providing any health service for four years after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct after engaging in sexualised and/or inappropriate conduct with two patients.[1] In January 2023, the Board referred further allegations regarding another patient and the Tribunal again found the doctor had engaged in professional misconduct. The doctor was reprimanded, disqualified from re-applying for registration and prohibited from providing health services for a further year.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Gorner [2024] VCAT 6 (18 January 2024)

A midwife was reprimanded and disqualified from re-applying for registration for ten years after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct. The midwife provided sub-standard private midwifery care to three couples including erroneous and inappropriate advice, failure to keep adequate clinical records, working against other health practitioners trying to provide necessary medical care and failing to call an ambulance when required. One of the babies now lives with significant disability. The midwife had surrendered her registration in 2019 and left Australia in 2021 indicating she had no intention of returning to Australia.

Psychology Board of Australia v Nudds [2024] VCAT 67 (31 January 2024)

A psychologist was reprimanded, had his registration cancelled, disqualified from re-applying for registration for four years and prohibited from providing mental health, psychological or counselling services for four years after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The psychologist had provided sub-standard psychological care, made fraudulent Medicare claims, failed to maintain professional boundaries, threatened a patient, transgressed sexual boundaries six months after the therapeutic relationship ended, made false or misleading declarations to the Board and failed to notify the Board of being charged and convicted with criminal offences. The psychologist had been convicted of multiple counts of persistently contravening Family Violence Intervention Orders, stalking and possessing drugs of dependence.

[1] Medical Board of Australia v Datta (No 2) [2022] VCAT 845

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    Notification of a “Problem” under s 40(3) Case Note – UCPT v Allianz [2023] FCA 190