22 Feb 2018
Psychologist successfully appeals Psychology Board of Australia panel's decision.
A psychologist has successfully appealed a Psychology Board of Australia panel’s decision to impose conditions on her registration for unsatisfactory professional performance in relation to report writing and treatment plans.
In April 2013, a former carer of the practitioner’s client made a notification to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) relating to the practitioner’s ‘alleged conflict of interest, legal and moral rights violations and acts of professional misconduct’. The allegations concerned the practitioner’s treatment of a physically disabled young man she had treated for many years.
The allegations followed a report the practitioner had prepared for the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in November 2012 that opposed the former carer’s appointment as a guardian of her client, instead recommending the appointment of the client’s family members. The report was critical of the former carer’s actions.
Following the carer’s notification to AHPRA, a Performance and Professional Standards Panel of the Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) considered five allegations against the practitioner. These included unsatisfactory professional performance and/or unprofessional conduct in relation to her treatment of the client and his mother.
The panel found the practitioner had acted in a way that constituted unsatisfactory professional performance in relation to two of the allegations. It found a report she prepared was unsatisfactory and she had failed to document a treatment plan. The panel imposed a condition on the practitioner’s registration requiring her to undertake a six-month period of supervised practice to address professional report writing and documenting treatment plans.
In June 2016 the practitioner sought a tribunal review of the panel’s decision. Following a hearing in May 2017, the tribunal found that none of the allegations proved the practitioner’s conduct constituted unsatisfactory professional performance as defined in the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory.
The tribunal substituted the panel’s decision with its decision that the practitioner had no case to answer and that no further action should be taken. The practitioner is therefore not required to be subject to a six-month period of supervision of her practice as a psychologist.