Man fined for claiming to be psychologist

tribunal hearing legal case

AHPRA has warned health professionals that they cannot claim to be registered if their registration has been cancelled

A man has been sentenced in the Adelaide Magistrates Court after being convicted of holding himself out as a registered psychologist and unlawfully using a specialist medical title.

Marek Jantos and a company he operated – Behavioural Medicine Institute of Australia – were fined a total of $16,000.

The company was also convicted of misleading and deceptive advertising.

Mr Jantos pleaded guilty to two charges, including unlawfully claiming to be a specialist in the field of “pain medicine,” and unlawfully claiming to be a registered psychologist.

Meanwhile the company pleaded guilty to a charge of false, misleading or deceptive advertising of a regulated health service.

In 2007, Mr Jantos’ registration as a psychologist had been cancelled by the then Psychology Board of South Australia. The behaviour considered by the Board had included invasive physical therapy in the context of psychological treatment.

At the time, the Board maintained that this decision was necessary “in order to protect the public from similar behaviour”.

Now, AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher says that the outcome following the new charges underlines the important role of the law relating to the registration of health practitioners in regard to patient safety.

“Under the National Law, anyone who calls themselves any of the ‘protected titles’, such as ‘medical practitioner’ or ‘psychologist’, including specialist titles, must be registered,” he warns.

“If someone’s registration is cancelled they cannot misrepresent themselves as being a registered health practitioner.

“This case also shows investigations relating to individuals falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner can be multifaceted.

“They can involve multiple professions, in this case medicine and psychology, and offending can occur through a variety of media including physical advertising, internet-related behaviour, and even  the printed material and information found in consulting rooms.”

Psychology Board of Australia Chair, Professor Brin Grenyer, encouraged the public to contact AHPRA if they are concerned that they are being treated by a person who is not registered or who might be misusing a protected title.

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