07 Nov 2014
A SA woman has pleaded guilty in the Adelaide Magistrates Court of claiming to be a registered psychologist and using health practitioner titles protected under the National Law.
Ms Julie Grayston conceded she had used the protected titles ‘psychologist’ and ‘clinical psychologist’ between March 2012 and April 2013. She was placed on a good behaviour bond. If Ms Grayston breaches the conditions of the bond, she will be ordered to pay $8000 and return to court for sentencing.
In a decision handed down on 21 October 2014, the magistrate found a financial penalty was warranted, but did not impose one because of Ms Grayston’s financial circumstances.
Ms Grayston admitted in court that she was not a registered psychologist, but had claimed to be authorised and qualified as a psychologist on 20 occasions. Pretending to be a registered health practitioner is an offence under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.
Ms Grayston has never been registered with the Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) and does not possess the academic qualifications necessary to be eligible for registration under the National Law. She had not been registered previously as a psychologist anywhere in Australia before 2010 when the National Law commenced. Psychology Board of Australia Chair Professor Brin Grenyer said ‘the law protects the title “psychologist” through registration, so members of the public who seek psychological services are assured that persons on the register are qualified and meet the Board's standards of professional education and are fit to practice.’
The current registration status of all of Australia’s 619,000 registered health practitioners is published on the register of practitioners. If a person’s name does not appear on the register, they are not registered to practise in a regulated health profession in Australia.
The National Law protects the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified can use protected titles such as psychologist. The law allows for penalties for falsely using protected titles or holding yourself out to be a registered practitioner.
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