facebook_pixel

Has Your Health Practitioner Been Disqualified or Prohibited From Practice?

OVERVIEW:

  • The Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) maintains a register of all health practitioners in Australia.
  • In 2021, AHRPA prosecuted 52 health practitioners, resulting in 20 disqualifications and 13 suspensions.
  • Within the 52 prosecutions, there were 10 practitioners that had continued practising despite being suspended and/or unregistered.
  • A simple online search can reveal whether your health practitioner is registered and/or subject to any disciplinary restrictions.


Despite being subject to disciplinary restrictions, many health practitioners can continue to practice in Australia. So, how can you find out if your health practitioner is presently disqualified from practise or the subject of disciplinary restrictions?

This article provides you with some case examples of health practitioners practising despite being subject to disciplinary restrictions or suspensions; and tips on how to best research your health practitioner.


2021 CASE EXAMPLES

The following three cases were prosecuted by the Australian Health Practitioners Regulation Agency (AHPRA) in 2021 and are examples of health practitioners continuing to practice despite disciplinary restrictions:

Mr David Drawwater, a QLD Enrolled Nurse, was convicted of continuing to practice despite his registration with AHPRA lapsing. 

  • Mr Drawwater’s registration lapsed on 1 July 2019, and he failed to renew it. He continued to work unregistered until November 2019, when his employment was terminated. During his unregistered period, he performed 35 shifts at an Ipswich aged care facility, where he had the primary responsibility for approximately 33 residents. AHPRA’s prosecution was successful, and Dr Drawwater was fined $8,000 and ordered to pay AHPRA’s costs. For further information about this AHPRA prosecution, visit here.  
  •  Dr Chris Pepulani, a WA General Practitioner who was under supervision conditions imposed in May 2018, was suspended for 12 months after he was found to have practised unsupervised and uninsured over a three month period. Despite not being allowed to practice medicine unsupervised, Dr Pepulani, conducted 20 consultations and issued approximately 260 prescriptions unsupervised. AHPRA’s prosecution was successful, and Dr Pepulani was suspended from practice for 12 months. For further information about this AHPRA prosecution, click here.
  •  Dr Brian Hickman, an NSW Psychologist who had been suspended by AHPRA in September 2018, was convicted of holding himself out to be a registered Psychologist in March 2019. Dr Hickman was fined $20,000 and ordered to pay AHRPA’s legal costs. In this case, AHPRA’s CEO said: ‘Falsely representing yourself as a registered health practitioner is a gross violation of the public’s trust. We hope this conviction acts as a deterrent to anyone else who might choose to ignore regulatory action taken by a National Board.’  For further information about this AHPRA prosecution, click here.

 

AHPRA REGISTER SEARCH

The first step to take in your health practitioner research is to perform a search of AHPRA’s online register, which is located here

To practice in the health profession in Australia, a practitioner must be registered with AHPRA. This applies to all health practitioners in Australia, from doctors, midwives and nurses through to podiatrists, osteopaths and Chinese medicine practitioners.  

Last week, we outlined the types of complaints investigated by AHPRA and provided a summary of their 2020/2021 annual report. You can read the full article here

An online AHPRA register search will identify: 

  • Whether your health practitioner is registered to practice in Australia; 
  • The date of your health practitioner's first registration with AHPRA; 
  • Your health practitioner's qualifications; 
  • Whether your health practitioner's registration is valid and/or subject to any restrictions or suspensions.

To find your health practitioner on AHPRA's register, you will require at least their surname. To narrow your search, knowing the type of health practitioner and the State or Territory in which they practice will be of assistance. 


OTHER FREE ONLINE SEARCHES

In addition to an online AHPRA register search, you can also perform:

  1. Google review search - You are unlikely to find out about a health practitioner's restrictions or suspension via a Google review. However, a Google review may reveal previous dissatisfied patients or previous unfortunate incidents involving that health practitioner. Conversely, it may reassure you that your health practitioner is the appropriate practitioner for you.
  2. Civil court party search – Most States have an online search function for their civil courts. If a health practitioner has been sued for personal injuries arising out of a medical negligence incident, that matter will appear in a civil court search.


RAISE YOUR CONCERNS

If your health practitioner's AHPRA registration is clear of any restrictions/conditions/suspension/ disqualification and you are unable to find much information about them elsewhere online, it may be that your health practitioner has not been the subject of a complaint, disciplinary action or a civil court matter.  

However, if you are still concerned about the ability of your health practitioner to treat your medical issue, feel free to ask them questions, such as:

  • How many times have they performed/administered that treatment? 
  • Their success rate with performing/administering the specific treatment? 
  • Have they have experienced a negative outcome, and what were the reasons for that negative outcome?

Before any treatment, you should feel comfortable knowing that your health practitioner has the right qualifications and is clear of any disciplinary restrictions. If you feel uneasy or uncertain after conducting your online research, you should always discuss your concerns with your health practitioner. Alternatively, and if circumstances permit, arrange to see a different practitioner for a second opinion.


WHAT IF THEY ARE DISQUALIFIED OR PROHIBITED FROM PRACTICE?

If you have found out after a procedure/treatment that your health practitioner was not appropriately qualified and/or acted outside of the scope of any disciplinary restrictions as outlined on the AHPRA register, then a complaint should be made to AHPRA about that practitioner. Visit this link to our recent article for further information on AHPRA complaints.

If you have suffered injury, loss or damage as a result of treatment by an unregistered, restricted or suspended health practitioner, then you should seek legal advice immediately. We can help, just click here

One download between you and your key to compensation...

  • Printable or accessible as an interactive PDF;
  • Complete with examples, hints and tips, and space to do your working
  • 1 download for our entire 5-part online series

Want to fast track the process with our free interactive workbook?

Breaking down the smokescreen of uncertainty through a unique step-by-step approach. 

CONTACT US

t      (07) 3231 0604

e     [email protected] 

a     345 Queen St, Brisbane City


Medical Law © 2020 Privacy & Disclaimer

Insert Table
Print Friendly, PDF & Email