31 Jul 2018
A former chiropractor in Western Australia was found guilty of holding himself out as a registered chiropractor by treating patients while not registered to do so under the National Law1.
On 23 March 2017, the former chiropractor was sentenced at the Magistrates Court of Western Australia (the court) and was found guilty of seven charges. The charges, brought by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), relate to holding out as a registered chiropractor while not being registered.
The court found that the former chiropractor treated three patients on a total of seven occasions at a practice in WA (between 14 August 2015 and 7 September 2015, despite claiming that another chiropractor at the practice treated those patients).
The court found that the former chiropractor had previously treated each of the patients. The court could not find any discernible difference between the appointments that the patients had during this period and those that they when previously registered. The patients were not told by anyone at the practice that the individual was not a registered chiropractor. The court found that the patients believe that they had made an appointment with the former chiropractor and that he treated them on their return visit, despite not being registered with the Chiropractic Board of Australia.
In addition the patients were billed using the other chiropractor’s health fund provider number and believed that they were paying for chiropractic services provided by the unregistered chiropractor.
The former chiropractor gave evidence that the court found amounted to a ‘tissue of lies’, and that he did not take responsibility for his actions.
In making its decision the court also considered that the offending period spanned six weeks, that the former chiropractor was a qualified and experienced chiropractor, that all of the patients were highly complementary of his skills and that there was no complaint or injury as a result of treatment given to patients.
The court ordered the former chiropractor to a pay a fine of $10,500 and costs to AHPRA of $16,773.25.
The individual was granted spent convictions and is therefore not named.
Make sure you are seeing a registered health practitioner
It is a serious matter if anyone who is not a registered health practitioner claims to be a registered health practitioner or uses titles that are protected under the National Law (e.g. ‘nurse', ‘medical practitioner', ‘chiropractor’ etc.). Both are offences and may be prosecuted by AHPRA.
1Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).