04 Jul 2019
Victorian woman Brittany Fairthorne was today convicted in the Frankston Magistrates’ Court of charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).
She was fined $15,000 plus costs.
Magistrate Crisp convicted Ms Fairthorne of two counts of holding herself out as a registered nurse and two counts of providing false information to an AHPRA inspector. Ms Fairthorne had pleaded guilty to these offences under the National Law1.
The charges were laid after an AHPRA investigation into allegations that Ms Fairthorne held herself out as a registered nurse and injected a patient with substances which purported to be cosmetic injectables. AHPRA also alleged that during its investigation, she provided false or misleading information and documents to an AHPRA inspector. Ms Fairthorne has never held registration as a nurse under the National Law with the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA).
She was fined a total of $15,000 and ordered to pay AHPRA’s costs in the amount of $13,495.85.
AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher welcomed the court’s decision as a strong deterrent to anyone who falsely claims to be a registered health practitioner.
‘This is another very good outcome for AHPRA, the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia and the public. Claiming to be a registered health practitioner when you are not puts vulnerable people at serious risk. We will continue to take action against these individuals to support the profession and safeguard the public, including through prosecution in the criminal courts.’
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Chair, Associate Professor Lynette Cusack, said Ms Fairthorne’s conviction highlights the importance of protecting the trust that people place in registered health professionals.
‘Registration demonstrates to employers and the public that nurses have met the high standard set by the NMBA to treat the Australian community. This outcome shows that in partnership with AHPRA, we take the responsibility of protecting the public’s trust in the profession very seriously.’
Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered with a national health profession board can check the register of practitioners maintained by AHPRA or contact AHPRA on 1300 419 495.
From 1 July 2019 things have changed
In February 2019, the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Act 2019 (Qld) was passed by the Queensland Parliament.
The amendments included increased penalties and introduced an imprisonment term of up to three years for offences against the National Law. The penalties will apply to offences committed after 1 July 2019.
The introduction of an imprisonment term means that some offences will automatically become indictable offences in all states and territories (except Western Australia).
1Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law).