Chiropractic Board of Australia - Chiropractor reprimanded and found guilty of professional misconduct

Chiropractor reprimanded and found guilty of professional misconduct

18 Dec 2019

The Victorian tribunal found a chiropractor guilty of professional misconduct reprimanded and fined him and placed conditions on his registration.

On 3 September 2019, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal found Dr Knowles, a chiropractor, had failed to complete his Continuing Professional Development (CPD) over a period of five years and failed to hold a first aid certificate over a three-year period, as required by the Chiropractic Board of Australia Registration Standard: Continuing Professional Development (as in force at the relevant time), made false declarations to the Chiropractic Board of Australia (the Board) at renewal and lied to an investigator during the Board investigation.

When applying to renew his registration Dr Knowles falsely declared on five occasions that he had met the CPD requirements and falsely declared on four occasions that he held a current first aid certificate.

During the investigation Dr Knowles falsely stated by email to an investigator acting on behalf of the Board that his computer crashed and his CPD records from 2013-2017 were lost.

In correspondence to the Board Dr Knowles explained that he did not consider any of the available modules for CPD to have any benefit to the profession or any relevance to him.

Prior to the hearing, the practitioner admitted his conduct and completed the CPD requirements for the 2017 to 2018 registration period. He also completed his first aid requirements.

The Tribunal noted that the practitioner’s conduct was deliberate, ongoing and serious and that he:

  • was a very experienced chiropractor (having been a registered chiropractor for 35 years) who was aware of the mandatory CPD requirements. He deliberately chose not to comply with them. He exacerbated the position by providing false information to cover his failings
  • knew that he was required to tell the truth when completing a registration renewal declaration,
  • knew that he was being deliberately dishonest when he determined to provide false information to the Board

The tribunal found that Dr Knowles behaviour constituted professional misconduct.

The tribunal reprimanded Dr Knowles fined him $7,500 and placed a condition on his registration requiring him to submit evidence of CPD compliance for a period of five years, noting that it was unfortunate that a practitioner should have to be monitored in order to maintain the basic requirements of registration.

The tribunal noted that a reprimand clearly sends the message to the public and profession that Dr Knowles' conduct was unacceptable and that a fine of $7,500 properly reflects the serious nature of the conduct.

The decision is published on the Austlii website.

Page reviewed 18/12/2019