Oral health therapist found guilty of professional misconduct

Date: Mar 26, 2019

Many organisations owe a duty of care towards customers and individuals within their boundaries, but medical professionals are among those whose duty of care is significantly higher.

Unfortunately, practitioners can sometimes breach this duty of care and in the below instance, be found guilty of professional misconduct.

Background of the case

In 2011, an oral health therapist (the respondent) obtained registration as an oral health therapist. He practised in this position for five years until the Dental Council of NSW suspended his licence following a number of incidents.

The therapist was convicted for aggravated break and entry and committing a serious indictable offence in company. At the time of the hearing, he was serving a five and a half year custodial sentence. He will be eligible for release on parole in December 2019.

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) (the appellant) submitted a complaint against the respondent, claiming he was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct. It stated he failed to notify the Dental Board of Australia that he had been charged with, and later convicted of, the offences previously stated. This was an action required by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW).

The HCCC also claimed the respondent was not a suitable person to hold registration in the oral health profession. It urged the Tribunal to cancel his registration and disqualify him from seeking review of any cancellation order between three and five years from implementation.

How did the practitioner respond?

The respondent admitted that he failed, per the National Law, to notify the Dental Board that he had been charged withand later convicted of the offences. He also agreed that this amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct. However, he disagreed with the disqualification period proposed by the HCCC.

What did the court decide?

During the hearing, the court learned that the practitioner had no prior convictions and was an all-round good character. However, at the time of the incidents, the respondent was not in good character, and the offences were serious in nature and showed a disregard for community standards. As a result, the Tribunal sided with the HCCC and ordered that the respondent’s registration as an oral health therapist should be cancelled and prevented him from applying for a re-instatement order until September 7, 2021.

The above is just one example of medical misconduct. If you’ve been injured as a result of a practitioner’s negligent behaviour – whether physical or psychological – you could be eligible for compensation. Get in touch with the medical negligence lawyers at Gerard Malouf & Partners to find out more.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.