A tribunal has affirmed the Psychology Board of Australia’s decision to refuse to remove conditions from a psychologist’s registration

11 Feb 2020

The Western Australia State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) has dismissed a psychologist’s application to review a decision of the Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) by which it refused to remove conditions on her registration.

In 2012, Dr Eva Vaszolyi applied to the Board to renew her general registration as a psychologist, which had lapsed in 2009. The Board granted Dr Vaszolyi general registration, subject to the same conditions as she had on her previous registration.

Dr Vaszolyi first had conditions imposed on her registration in 2009 by the Psychologists Board of the Northern Territory (NT Board) following a professional conduct investigation. The conditions required her to practice under supervision including preparing supervision plans to assist her professional development in clinical assessment; case management; record keeping and professional ethics and practice standards.

Later in 2014, Dr Vaszolyi lodged an application to have the conditions removed from her registration, but the application was dismissed by the tribunal.

The Board approved a mandated supervision plan in August 2015 which would allow for Dr Vaszolyi to undertake supervised practice in accordance with the conditions on her registration. The mandated supervision plan required that Dr Vaszolyi be provided with simulated clients by her supervisor; undertake 20 hours per week of psychological practice and that supervision was to occur fortnightly for one hour via Skype.

On 16 May 2018, Dr Vaszolyi requested that the Board remove the conditions on her registration. On 6 July 2018 the Board declined to remove the conditions and Dr Vaszolyi appealed the decision to the tribunal.

Dr Vaszolyi submitted twelve progress reports to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) between August 2015 and July 2018. The tribunal concluded that the reports were unsatisfactory, and Dr Vaszolyi had not complied with the conditions on her registration for various reasons including:

  • she had very limited direct client contact which raised concerns over aspects of her practice including client assessment
  • between August 2016 and November 2017 Dr Vaszolyi’s supervisor was unable to comment on her professional aptitude because there was limited contact with her
  • one of the progress reports referred to historical clients and did not provide an assessment of her current level of competence, and
  • she did not submit monthly reports between August 2016 and November 2017 until Ahpra requested the outstanding reports.

Dr Vaszolyi submitted that the conditions imposed eroded her supervisory relationships and amounted to unnecessary paperwork. She also stated that she wishes to continue her work in the area of psychological assessment, and on the application of a test which is appropriate for blind or low vision people.

However, the tribunal found that the conditions imposed on Dr Vaszolyi’s registration remain necessary to protect the public because she has failed to demonstrate professional development in the identified issues in her practice.

On 18 July 2019, the tribunal affirmed the Board’s decision to refuse to remove the conditions on Dr Vaszolyi’s registration and her application for review was dismissed. The conditions remain on Dr Vaszolyi’s registration.

The full appeal decision is published on the eCourts website.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

 
 
Page reviewed 11/02/2020