08 Dec 2021
A Victorian person who falsely claimed to be a registered nurse has been ordered to pay $4,030 in compensation to the patient and $6,500 in legal costs to Ahpra after they admitted to breaching the National Law.
The defendant operates a cosmetic clinic that provides a treatment known as ‘Cryolipolysis’ or ‘fat freezing’ in Victoria.1 It is claimed that fat freezing helps patients lose excess fat.
The defendant advertised themselves as a ‘nurse’ on their business website and told a patient that they were a nurse during consultations and treatment. The patient stated that they reviewed the defendant’s website and chose to receive the treatment from them because she believed they were a nurse. The patient suffered uneven fat distribution and pain as a result of the procedure and requires corrective treatment.
The defendant is not a nurse and has not held registration for over 10 years.
Ahpra brought two charges against the defendant of falsely claiming to be a nurse and using the title ‘nurse’ in breach of the National Law.
The defendant admitted responsibility for the offending and consented to the Magistrates Court ordering that they take part in a diversion program with conditions that include that they pay Ahpra’s legal fees in the sum of $6,500. Under the diversion program, if as the payment was made by 3 December 2021, the charges will be withdrawn, and the defendant will avoid having a criminal record. The Magistrate also ordered that the defendant pay compensation to the patient in the sum of $4,030. The defendant is not named so as to not undermine the basis for a diversion order being made. The Criminal Justice Diversion Program in Victoria is a way for low-level offenders to avoid a criminal record by undertaking conditions that benefit the victim, the community and themselves.
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said this outcome was another example of practitioner regulation at work.
‘All cosmetic procedures carry risk. Seeing a registered health practitioner is an important way that patients and consumers can reduce that risk because registered health practitioners must meet standards for registration and abide by a code of conduct.
‘Claiming to be registered as a nurse when you’re not, violates the trust of patients and takes away their ability to make an informed decision. We will take action when someone violates that trust and puts the public at risk.’
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Presiding Member Annette Symes said the Board had zero tolerance for those claiming to be registered.
‘The public trusts that when someone says they are a nurse that they have the qualifications and current skills to provide that professional standard of care. Anyone can check their treating practitioner is registered on the national register of practitioners.’
Anyone with concerns about the registration of a practitioner can contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495.
1The defendant has not been named in this news item due to the Magistrates Court ordering that they complete a diversion program.