Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia - Tribunal cancels nurse’s registration for professional misconduct
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Tribunal cancels nurse’s registration for professional misconduct

04 Jul 2017

A tribunal has disqualified a nurse for three years for professional misconduct.

The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found that former registered nurse Mr John Brewer had engaged in professional misconduct, after he was convicted of multiple criminal offences over several years. The tribunal reprimanded Mr Brewer, cancelled his registration and disqualified him from applying for registration for at least three years.

In 2013, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) was notified that Victoria Police had found Mr Brewer in possession of medications prescribed between 2006 and 2013 in the names of current and former patients of the health service where he had been employed.

An Immediate Action Committee of the NMBA subsequently suspended Mr Brewer’s registration on the basis that because of his conduct, he posed a serious risk to the public.

In October 2013, Mr Brewer was found guilty in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria of multiple charges including:

  • 21 instances of theft, including theft of animals and medications
  • four instances of stalking
  • six instances of intentionally damaging property
  • three instances of aggravated cruelty to an animal
  • one instance of burglary
  • one instance of failure to store ammunition correctly, and
  • five instances of possessing a drug of dependence.

In February 2015, Mr Brewer was convicted of multiple offences in the Magistrates’ Court of Victoria including:

  • three instances of making a false document to the prejudice of others
  • one instance of reckless conduct endangering serious injury
  • two instances of recklessly causing injury
  • two instances of false imprisonment, and
  • two instances of intentionally causing injury.

In July 2016, following an investigation by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), the NMBA referred Mr Brewer to the tribunal. The NMBA alleged professional misconduct and/or unprofessional conduct in relation to his convictions in 2013 and 2015.

At the hearing last February 2017, the tribunal supported the NMBA’s submissions that the tribunal should reprimand Mr Brewer, cancel his registration and disqualify him from re-applying for registration as a nurse for three years. The tribunal noted that it was not confident Mr Brewer will be fit for registration in the future.

Mr Brewer declined to make submissions to the tribunal or attend the hearing.

The decision is published on the Austlii website.

Criminal history

Nurses and midwives are required to declare all their Australian and international criminal history to the NMBA and this is assessed according to the Board’s criminal history registration standard.

If a health practitioner is already registered and is charged with an offence which is punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more, receives a criminal conviction or finding of guilt they have to inform the NMBA and AHPRA within seven days.

They are also required to inform the Board if their authority under a State or Territory law to administer, obtain, possess, prescribe, sell, supply or use a scheduled medicine or class of scheduled medicines is cancelled or restricted.

Page reviewed 4/07/2017