30 April 2019

Fake Physiotherapists and Pharmacists

The Tasmanian Magistrates’ Court in Launceston has fined Michael Sylvester Dempsey $120,000 for holding out following action by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). The fine is the largest against an individual for offences under the National Health Practitioner Law.

In February 2019, Dempsey pleaded guilty to charges of holding out 11 people as registered physiotherapists or occupational therapists at various aged care facilities in Tasmania, when they were not.

In responding to the conviction of Dempsey AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher referred to the organisation's determination to protect the community from unlawful and deceptive behaviour, commenting
 The deliberate, intentional and deceptive behaviour uncovered as part of this case is of the most serious kind perpetrated on vulnerable people in aged care facilities. 
AHPRA will not hesitate to take action if we identify someone is practising as a registered practitioner when they are not registered. 
It also highlights the importance of the public and employers checking the online national register of practitioners to make sure services are being provided by a registered health practitioner. If you think someone is not registered – and they should be – tell AHPRA,
AHPRA states that it initiated investigation after a complaint from a registered chiropractor employed by Dempsey’s company Libero Health Care Pty Ltd (Libero). Following its investigation, AHPRA alleged that Libero was engaging unregistered people to provide regulated health services, specifically complex health care to residents at aged care facilities. AHPRA also alleged that the people held out by Libero to deliver services were not registered practitioners and had been instructed to falsely assume/sign the names of registered practitioners when providing treatment to residents in the aged care facilities they visited. The people held out came from unrelated sectors including hospitality and transport, to provide pain management services to around 78 patients whose ages ranged from 67 to 99 years of age across several aged care facilities in Tasmania.

Libero was placed into liquidation in January; Dempsey's registration as a physiotherapist was suspended by the Physiotherapy Board of Australia in September last year.

Earlier this month AHPRA reported
A New South Wales Court has convicted and fined a man for holding himself out as a registered pharmacist following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA). 
At sentencing today, Mr Michael Simon was fined $10,000 and ordered to pay the AHPRA’s legal costs of $4,000. 
Mr Simon has never held registration under the National Law1 and is not eligible to be registered as a pharmacist. 
Mr Simon was alleged to have worked as a pharmacist between 25 and 29 June 2018 at a family owned pharmacy in Randwick. It was alleged that he had dispensed scheduled medications on numerous occasions on 25, 27, 28 and 29 June 2018 at the pharmacy. 
The conduct was identified on 29 June 2018, when an Inspector with the Pharmacy Council of New South Wales conducted a routine inspection of the Pharmacy. On this date, the Council Inspector observed a sign near the dispensary stating, ‘Pharmacist in Charge, Michael George Simon’. Mr Simon claimed to be the registered pharmacist on duty. As the Council Inspector could not find registration details for Mr Simon’s registration on the public register of practitioners maintained by AHPRA, and the Inspector ordered the pharmacy to be closed. The Council then referred the matter to AHPRA. 
As a result, on 19 December 2018, AHPRA charged Mr Simon with four counts of unlawfully holding himself out as a registered pharmacist.