18 Aug 2020
A registered nurse has been disqualified for professional misconduct.
A registered nurse has had his registration cancelled, been disqualified from applying for registration for one year and been reprimanded by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) after it was found he had engaged in professional misconduct.
On 18 September 2017, a notification was made to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) regarding Mr Darren Sanger’s alleged conduct in and around September 2017.
Between 22 February 2016 and 18 April 2018 Mr Sanger misappropriated blank prescription pads belonging to two different medical practitioners on separate occasions in the Northern Territory and Victoria where he was employed as a registered nurse.
Mr Sanger prepared false prescriptions to himself for Diazepam, Lorazepam, Tramadol and Panadeine Forte and forged the signatures of both medical practitioners. He presented the false prescriptions for self-administration.
On 26 September 2017, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA) commenced an investigation into Mr Sanger’s alleged conduct.
On 5 October 2017, the NMBA decided took immediate action by way of suspending Mr Sanger’s registration. The NMBA also decided to require Mr Sanger to undergo a health assessment. On 27 November 2017, Mr Sanger attended a health assessment.
On 18 April 2018, Mr Sanger plead guilty to, and was found guilty of, charges relating to theft, obtaining property by deception and using a false document to prejudice. He was sentenced without conviction to a good behaviour bond and a fine of $800.
In a second allegation of professional misconduct, between 26 February 2016 and 16 May 2018, Mr Sanger provided false and/or misleading information when making submissions on his actions to the NMBA and during a health assessment.
On 16 August 2018, the NMBA decided to refer the two allegations of professional conduct of Mr Sanger to the tribunal.
On 10 July 2019, the tribunal found that Mr Sanger had engaged in professional misconduct. The tribunal reprimanded Mr Sanger, cancelled his registration and disqualified him from applying for registration as a nurse for a period of 12 months.
In not imposing a longer disqualification period, the tribunal noted Mr Sanger’s admissions to the allegations and that he had already served a significant period of suspension.
The tribunal considered Mr Sanger a person caught up in an unfortunate set of circumstances as a result of a workplace injury while employed as a registered nurse in 2010 and that he had taken positive steps to alleviate the problem.
The tribunal’s decision is available on the Austlii website.