22 Feb 2021
A former enrolled nurse has been fined in a Victorian court for holding herself out as registered and administering cosmetic injectables while she was suspended, following a charge filed by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra).
On 26 February 2018, the New South Wales Nursing and Midwifery Council suspended Ms Tanya Bechara’s registration to protect public health or safety. Suspended practitioners cannot practise or hold themselves out as being registered. If a practitioner’s registration is suspended this is reflected on the national register of practitioners.
Ahpra alleged that despite the suspension, Ms Bechara continued to hold herself out in Victoria as an enrolled nurse, contravening the National Law. She did this by injecting patients with cosmetic injectables that can only be prescribed by a registered medical practitioner, a nurse practitioner and administered by a registered nurse or an enrolled nurse under the supervision of a registered nurse.
While Ms Bechara’s business was based in NSW, the charge against her was a result of her administering cosmetic injections to clients in Melbourne while she was there on a business trip in November 2018.
Ms Bechara pleaded guilty to the charge in the Magistrates Court of Victoria. Magistrate Trieu Huynh imposed a fine of $5,000, without conviction. Ms Bechara was also ordered to pay $2,650 in compensation to the victim. The court is still to deliver its decision on Ahpra’s application for an order that Ms Bechara pay Ahpra’s legal costs.
Magistrate Huynh commented that he accepted Ms Bechara intended to have a registered nurse inject all the patients that she saw that day but that either ego, overconfidence or overcompensation took over. He indicated that the need for general deterrence was significant in a case like this so that the public will have confidence in their health practitioners.
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher added: ‘Our focus is public safety. Falsely claiming to be registered violates the trust of patients and clients and puts patient safety at risk. I hope this outcome sends a strong message of deterrence to others.’
Consumers can ‘be safe first’ by checking out information on the Ahpra website, visit: www.ahpra.gov.au/besafefirst.
- The HCCC brought separate proceedings about Ms Bechara in the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal. The tribunal cancelled her registration in December 2020 and ordered that she may not make any application for review of the cancellation of her registration as an enrolled nurse for 18 months.
- Ms Bechara is also prohibited from providing health services including offering cosmetic or other forms of injectable treatments, other than as authorised by and in accordance with the requirements of her current registration as a student nurse undertaking the Bachelor of Nursing course, until she obtains a reinstatement order, or is re-registered as a nurse.
1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).