03 Sep 2020
A South Australian woman who falsely claimed to be a registered nurse was today convicted and fined $3,500 following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).
Melissa Madex, who has never held registration as a nurse, was convicted by the Magistrates Court of South Australia of four counts of holding herself out as a nurse in breach of the National Law . Ms Madex pleaded guilty to the charges.
The National Law protects the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified can use protected titles, such as nurse. Falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner is a criminal offence under the National Law.
The charges related to Ms Madex holding herself out as a nurse in September and October 2018 while applying for a position as an enrolled nurse at a hospital. This included providing a fraudulent Ahpra registration number and certificate of registration to the employer. Ms Madex did not begin work in the position.
The Magistrate fined Ms Madex a total of $3,500 and ordered her to pay Ahpra’s costs of $1,210. Ms Madex was also automatically required by South Australian legislation to pay a victims of crime levy of $160 per charge, totaling $640.
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher welcomed the decision as a strong deterrent to anyone who falsely claims to be a registered health practitioner.
‘Claiming to be a registered health practitioner when you are not puts vulnerable people at risk and betrays the trust of the public,’ Mr Fletcher said.
Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia Chair, Associate Professor Lynette Cusack, said ‘The public trusts that when someone says they are a nurse that they have the qualifications and skills to provide safe care. This type of conduct is completely unacceptable, and today’s outcome demonstrates the repercussions for such actions.’
The public can check the register of practitioners to see if their nurse or other health practitioner is registered to practise in Australia.
Anyone with concerns about someone who might be claiming to be a registered health practitioner when they are not should 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).
For more information:
• Find out more about how to report an offence.
• For media enquiries: (03) 8708 9200.
• Lodge an online enquiry form.
• For registration enquiries: 1300 419 495 (within Australia) +61 03 9275 9009 (overseas callers).