06 Jun 2018
A tribunal has formed a reasonable belief that a nurse restrained a patient in an unacceptable way, but has upheld her appeal against suspension.
The Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) had made an immediate action decision on 12 February 2018 to suspend Ms Taruna Mehta’s registration while investigating allegations that she had restrained an elderly patient in an unnecessary and unacceptable way. It was alleged that Ms Mehta had tied the hands of an elderly patient to a bed rail with a sheet. Whether the patient was tied to the bed in the manner alleged was disputed by Ms Mehta.
Ms Mehta appealed her suspension to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal). The tribunal formed a reasonable belief that Ms Mehta had engaged in the conduct as alleged and that the form of restraint of the patient was both unnecessary and applied in an unacceptable form. The tribunal believed that Ms Mehta had made a poor decision in the circumstances.
However, the tribunal did not believe that Ms Mehta poses a serious risk to patients. In forming this view the tribunal had regard to a number of factors including:
Accordingly, the tribunal set aside the decision of the NMBA to take immediate action.
The tribunal noted that its decision does not limit the NMBA’s ongoing investigative process or capacity to take further steps at the end of the investigation, including referral to the tribunal for disciplinary proceedings.
The tribunal’s decision is published on the Austlii website.