07 May 2021
A Victorian psychologist has been reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 18 months for professional misconduct after he failed to comply with audit and supervision conditions.
Mr Jeffrey Wilkinson, a registered psychologist, was alleged to have failed to comply with audit and supervision conditions imposed on his registration by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) on 16 June 2017. Mr Wilkinson’s conduct included returning his patient files to his clients, which prevented the Psychology Board of Australia (the Board) from completing a scheduled audit of his practice.
Mr Wilkinson did not accept the role of the Board and Ahpra in reviewing his clinical practice, particularly in relation to record keeping. He contended that he was not bound to comply with the audit and supervisory conditions, citing the Privacy Act 1988. The tribunal rejected this argument noting that disclosure of the patient records was authorised under the tribunal’s 2017 order and inspection of those records was allowed under the National Law1. Mr Wilkinson was not entitled to ignore or stymie the audit and supervision conditions.
On 10 December 2020, the tribunal found that Mr Wilkinson had engaged in professional misconduct and ordered that he be reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 18 months from the date of the orders.
The tribunal viewed that both a reprimand and period of disqualification were necessary, because of the need for both general and specific deterrence.
The tribunal… ‘must send a clear message to the psychology profession that failure to comply with conditions imposed by the tribunal to protect the public will not be tolerated’.
The Part 1 and Part 2 decisions are available on the Austlii website.
1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).