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A registered nurse and midwife has had their registration cancelled for 15 months for illegally accessing and sharing medical records

09 Feb 2024

A tribunal has reprimanded, cancelled and disqualified a registered nurse and midwife from applying for registration for 15 months after she used her position to access family members’ medical record details without permission. 

On 1 February 2018, the King Edward Memorial Hospital (KEMH) received a complaint regarding a registered nurse and midwife (Ms A), alleging that she had illegally accessed a patient’s (Ms J) clinical records. An audit of Ms J’s health records was conducted, and it was identified that Ms A had accessed Ms J’s health records during her practice as a clinical midwife at Bentley Health Services (BHS), and had used this information in an affidavit for the Family Court of Western Australia proceedings for the purpose of obtaining a particular outcome for her brother. Ms A was the former sister-in-law of Ms J and aunt to their child. 

Ms A was referred to Ahpra for further investigation where she admitted to accessing the information, stating she had never done anything like this before and asserted that she had only done so under the impression that she was authorised and had Ms J’s consent. She also promised not to do so again. 

Her manager at BHS confirmed their decision to reprimand Ms A and required her to attend a counselling meeting. Therefore, no further regulatory action was sought. 

On 16 January 2019, Ms J contacted KEMH again seeking a further audit of Ms A’s access to both her patient records and those of her daughter (Ms A’s niece). A full review of Ms A’s access was undertaken and it was found that she had inappropriately accessed the medical records of her relatives on 18 separate occasions prior to the first complaint and reprimand issued by her employer, BHS, and on nine occasions after receiving counselling. After further investigation, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia referred Ms A to the State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal).

The tribunal found that Ms A had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct and ordered that she: 

  • be reprimanded, 
  • have her registration as both a nurse and midwife cancelled from 6 July 2023,
  • is disqualified from applying for registration for a period of 15 months from 6 July 2023, and
  • pay a contribution of $3,500 towards the NMBA’s costs of the proceedings.

The tribunal’s decision was made on 6 July 2023 and is available on the eCourts Portal of Western Australia.

 
 
 
Page reviewed 9/02/2024