Former nurse fined $8,000 for practising after registration lapsed

08 Sep 2021

A former enrolled nurse in Queensland who continued to practise after his registration lapsed was today fined $8,000 and convicted of a charge brought by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra). He was also ordered to pay Ahpra’s legal costs of $1,500.

David Drawwater’s registration lapsed on 1 July 2019 after he failed to renew it. Despite being unregistered, he continued to work as an enrolled nurse at an Ipswich aged care facility until his employment was terminated in November 2019 for unrelated reasons. During this time, he performed 35 shifts where he worked in a unit predominantly by himself at night and had the primary responsibility for up to 33 residents.

Ahpra protects the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified can claim to be registered. Falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner is a criminal offence under the National Law1.

 Mr Drawwater failed to appear in court and was sentenced in his absence today by the Ipswich Magistrates’ Court of Queensland for one charge of holding himself out as an enrolled nurse in breach of the National Law

In delivering the sentence, Acting Magistrate Scoines noted that  Mr Drawwater’s conduct involved a ‘serious breach of trust of the vulnerable people at the facility…’ and that nurses are, ‘trusted professionals and they are strictly regulated for a reason’

Ahpra CEO, Mr Martin Fletcher, said: ‘This court outcome is a reminder for all registered practitioners to keep up with their registration requirements. Registration renewal safeguards patients because practitioners must confirm they meet specific requirements to ensure they continue to be safe and competent to practise.’

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Chair, Adjunct Professor Veronica Casey AM, said continuing to practise when unregistered was a serious breach of professional obligations.

‘It is completely unacceptable for a nurse to continue practising after allowing their registration to lapse. The public has a high level of trust and confidence in the nursing profession and such actions put their safety at risk.’

Anyone with concerns about the registration of a practitioner can contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495.

1 Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory. 

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Page reviewed 8/09/2021