24 Jul 2023
A Victorian chiropractor who falsely declared they had professional indemnity insurance (PII) and practised without it for four years has been reprimanded for professional misconduct and suspended for two months.
Ms Sophie Oborne was referred to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) by the Chiropractic Board of Australia (the Board) which made two allegations of professional misconduct, that she admitted.
The Board alleged Ms Oborne failed to have PII for four years, between February 2017 and January 2021, and on each annual renewal of her registration, between November 2017 and November 2020, she falsely answered ‘yes’ to the following questions:
In February 2021, Ms Oborne notified the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) that her PII had lapsed due to what she believed to be an administrative oversight. Following an investigation, the Board referred her to the tribunal.
The tribunal observed that a chiropractor not having PII when providing a regulated health service breaches the Board’s Code of conduct and damages public confidence in the chiropractic profession. Failure to provide accurate information about PII cover on registration renewal forms frustrates the Board’s ability to carry out its role in protecting the public.
The tribunal determined that Ms Oborne engaged in professional misconduct, reprimanded her and suspended her registration for two months, starting from 9 August 2023. The tribunal commented that it regarded three to six months’ suspension as appropriate to address general deterrence where a failure to have PII cover over a period of several years but considered a two-month suspension was appropriate given the mitigating factors, including Ms Oborne’s self-reporting, her cooperation in the Board’s investigation, and the Board’s view that her false declarations were made recklessly as opposed to dishonestly.
The tribunal also placed conditions on Ms Oborne’s registration requiring her to provide a certificate of currency conferring appropriate PII coverage to the Board and/or Ahpra annually and within seven days of the policy anniversary date.
She was also required to provide to Ahpra the name of her professional indemnity insurer, with an acknowledgement that Ahpra may contact the insurer for verification, and that all costs associated with complying with the conditions on her registration were at her own expense. The conditions on her registration will be reviewed again in five years.
Read the tribunal’s full decision on AustLII.