11 Feb 2021
A Victorian court has convicted a suspended psychologist of holding themselves out as a registered psychologist following charges filed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).
The Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) had previously decided it was necessary to take immediate action to suspend the practitioner’s registration to protect public health or safety.
The charges alleged that despite this suspension, the practitioner continued to practice and hold themselves out as a registered psychologist in Victoria on various dates between October 2018 and April 2019, in contravention of the National Law .
The practitioner pleaded guilty to the charges. The Magistrate convicted them and imposed an 18-month community correction order with a number of treatment and rehabilitation conditions. They were also ordered to pay legal costs to Ahpra of $30,000.
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said the court outcome demonstrated Ahpra and the Board’s work to protect health consumers across Australia: ‘Claiming to be a registered psychologist when your registration has been suspended is a gross violation of the National Law and the public’s trust. Ahpra will continue to take all available steps to protect the public’.
Rachel Phillips, Chair of the Psychology Board of Australia said ‘Psychologists play an important and trusted role in our communities and maintaining that trust is a crucial job of the Board. Anyone who disregards the National Law, including using the term ‘psychologist’ when they are not registered, is disregarding public safety and it will not be tolerated.’
‘This is a positive outcome for the Board and we hope it will act as a deterrent to others’ Ms Phillips said. This case also demonstrates the importance of the online register of practitioners in protecting the public. Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered with a national health practitioner board can check the online register of practitioners maintained by Ahpra or contact Ahpra on 1300 419 495.
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