Stolen credit card details used to pay for school & registration fees

The regulator has spotlighted health practitioners reprimanded, suspended or banned over drug misappropriation, inappropriate prescribing, theft and forged scripts

Ahpra has recently published findings on a range of tribunal decisions from across the health professions. Here we outline them below.

Fentanyl misappropriated

A tribunal has ordered the cancellation of a nurse’s registration after she misappropriated approximately 55 ampoules of fentanyl from the hospital where she worked as a registered nurse in 2016.

After investigating discrepancies in its drug registers, the nurse’s employer made a notification to Ahpra about her conduct.

The nurse admitted the conduct and that she has a health impairment.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that her conduct constituted professional misconduct.

While taking into account her ill health at the time of misappropriating the fentanyl, it ordered that she be reprimanded and her registration as a nurse cancelled, said Ahpra.

Forged script

A tribunal has ordered that a former nurse be reprimanded and disqualified from registration for two years after she presented a forged prescription to a pharmacy.

The enrolled nurse she was convicted and fined for receipt of stolen goods and presenting a forged prescription to a pharmacy, and consequently failed to notify the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia of the charges or conviction, which she was required to do within seven days.

In 2017, while working at an aged care facility, she also misappropriated one tablet of oxycodone and inappropriately removed and returned 12 tramadol tablets. The nurse was later found guilty, without conviction, of the theft of the tablet of oxycodone. She again failed to notify the Board of the charges and finding of guilt, Ahpra stated.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found that her behaviour constituted professional misconduct and ordered her be reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration as a nurse for two years.

Inappropriate prescribing

A GP has been suspended for nine months after he inappropriately prescribed peptides and other substances to 10 patients and to himself.

During South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal proceedings, the GP made several admissions including that he should not have recommended, prescribed or entertained a combination of peptide medications and steroids, or a combination of a controlled drug and benzodiazepine medications.

He admitted that the provision of the peptide medications to the 10 patients created a risk of harm to the patients, including specified side effects.

The GP also admitted that his conduct amounted to professional misconduct.

He was reprimanded and suspended for nine months.

The tribunal also imposed conditions on his registration, including that the GP not prescribe, possess, supply, administer, handle, dispense, access or check certain medications, including testosterone or growth hormone-related peptides.

Other conditions included regular reporting to Ahpra and the Medical Board, as well as audits of his practice.

Fraudulent transactions

A Victorian enrolled nurse has been reprimanded and prohibited from working in aged care health services until December 2022, for fraudulently obtaining and using a resident’s credit card details.

While working as a personal care attendant at a residential aged care home in 2017, the enrolled nurse took a photograph of a resident’s credit card and used it to make several transactions.

This included attempting to purchase a mobile phone, wireless headphones and food supplements.

She also attempted to pay for school fees and her registration renewal with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia with the card details.

Her employment was terminated a few months later, after Victoria Police alerted her employer to the transactions.

Criminal charges were laid. The enrolled nurse pleaded and was found guilty at the Magistrate’s Court of Victoria in October 2017. No conviction was recorded but she was fined $2,000.

The woman failed to notify the Board about the findings of guilt while she was registered and did not declare the change to her criminal history in her application for registration renewal as required by law.

Victoria Police notified Ahpra and the Board of the criminal charges.

Her renewal application was refused and the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal consequently found that her conduct breached the Code of professional conduct for nurses in Australia and constituted professional misconduct.

She was reprimanded by the tribunal and prohibited from providing any health service involving provision of care to persons in residential aged care, or receiving home or community based aged care or disability care, for two years.

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