24 Mar 2016
A tribunal has acted on a call by the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) to cancel the registration of a medical practitioner.
A tribunal cancelled the registration of a medical practitioner who failed to declare his criminal history to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and has disqualified him from applying for registration for two years.
The State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the Tribunal) approved a settlement in proceedings initiated by the Board against Dr Robert Taylor, a medical practitioner, and found that he behaved in a way that was not consistent with him being a fit and proper person to hold registration.
Dr Taylor failed to declare his criminal history, gave the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) a statutory declaration which included a false statement, and engaged in conduct that was inconsistent with him being a fit and proper person to hold registration as a medical practitioner.
Since February 2015 AHPRA has been using a process for checking international criminal history that provides greater public protection, while being fair and reasonable for practitioners.
This approach requires applicants for registration and certain registered practitioners to provide an independent international criminal history check if they have spent periods of time living or working overseas. All applicants also undergo an Australian criminal history check.
AHPRA CEO Mr Martin Fletcher said, ‘The criminal history checks we carry out provide the Australian community with the assurance that we have rigorous safeguards in place to manage any concerns relating to someone’s criminal history, whether in Australia or in another country.’
In the matter of Dr Taylor, the key steps were:
- On 20 August 2014, AHPRA received a notification about Dr Taylor, which alleged that he had failed to declare his criminal history to AHPRA and was not a fit and proper person to hold registration because of prior unresolved criminal charges
- On 19 June 2015, as soon as it had sufficient information to meet the legal threshold for action, the Board took interim action by suspending Dr Taylor’s registration, in order to protect public health or safety (this suspension remained in place until 9 March 2016)
- On 30 October 2015, the matter was referred to the Tribunal as it appeared that Dr Taylor had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct
- The Tribunal found that Dr Taylor’s registration was improperly obtained and that he had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct. The Tribunal ordered that Dr Taylor’s registration be cancelled; be disqualified from applying for registration as a registered health practitioner for a period of two years; and pay the Board’s costs.
‘Like any legal process we can only act when the information we have is sufficient to meet the thresholds set in our legislation. In cases such as this, where allegations relate to possible criminal charges overseas, our investigation includes contacting the appropriate international authorities to verify the status of any charges.
‘Our focus is on conducting fair and thorough investigations and collecting high-quality evidence that will lead to an outcome that best serves the public,’ said Mr Fletcher.
During Tribunal proceedings, Dr Taylor agreed that his registration was improperly obtained and that he had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct by:
- making false declarations in applications for registration
- making a false statement in a statutory declaration submitted to AHPRA in which he claimed never to have been charged with a criminal offence, and
- engaging in conduct inconsistent with being a fit and proper person to hold registration as a medical practitioner by attempting to conceal his criminal history from the Board over a sustained period of time and in circumstances where he either knew, or ought to have known the seriousness of the criminal history he was concealing.
The decision is available on the tribunal website.
For more information
- Visit the AHPRA website
- For registration enquiries: 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 3 8708 9001 (overseas callers)
- For media enquiries: (03) 8708 9200