25 May 2023
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) has successfully prosecuted Mr Alexander Gigney for holding himself out as a registered pharmacist in contravention of section 116 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 (National Law).
Mr Gigney had previously held provisional registration as a pharmacist, which required him to practise under supervision. On 21 January 2020 Mr Gigney’s registration as a provisional pharmacist lapsed after he failed to renew. Over the ensuing 17 months Mr Gigney worked full-time and unsupervised as a pharmacist in a pharmacy despite being unregistered.
Mr Gigney misled his employer when he falsely claimed he had obtained general registration as a pharmacist. His employer relied on this claim and promoted Mr Gigney to the position of full-time pharmacist, thereby permitting him to work without supervision.
There is no suggestion Mr Gigney caused any harm to members of the public during the period. Mr Gigney now holds provisional registration with the Board and is currently entitled to practice as a pharmacist under supervision.
Today, Magistrate Wells imposed a $1,200 fine and placed Mr Gigney on an 18-month community corrections order requiring 42 hours of unpaid community work. He was also ordered to pay $1,276 in prosecution costs to Ahpra. In acknowledgement of Mr Gigney’s cooperation and early plea of guilty the Magistrate reduced the fine and community service that would otherwise have been imposed by 40%.
Magistrate Wells commented that ‘general deterrence is of critical importance in this matter…. The community is entitled to have confidence in the qualifications, training, expertise and competence of health practitioners. In deciding to record a conviction he noted that Mr Gigney’s conduct involved an extended period of offending by someone who had never held general registration, which amounted to a breach of trust for his employer and the community, and that ‘recording a conviction is needed to send a strong message to the public that this type of offending is not acceptable’.
Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered can check the online Register of practitioners maintained by Ahpra or call 1300 419 495.