31 Aug 2023
A Queensland man who has never held registration as a physiotherapist has pleaded guilty to the charge of claiming to be qualified to practise as a physiotherapist in contravention of section 116(1)(d) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009.
Mr Carlos Adelino Henrique Ferreira has never been registered as a physiotherapist and holds no qualifications in physiotherapy.
In May 2022 Mr Ferreira provided a fake certificate for a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and used fake letters of recommendation to lease a room for providing physiotherapy services at a health clinic at Burpengary.
A local medical practice contacted the owner of the health clinic in June 2022 and made enquiries about referring patients for physiotherapy services. The owner of the clinic agreed to set up a referral plan with the medical practice believing that Mr Ferreira was a physiotherapist.
Before any patients were treated the owner of the clinic discovered that Mr Ferreira was not registered with Ahpra, and the referral plan was terminated.
Mr Ferreira’s agreement to lease the room was amended to refer to massage services only. However Mr Ferreira continued to describe himself as a physiotherapist in discussions with another health professional at the clinic.
Mr Ferreira also advertised himself online as a physiotherapist.
Magistrate Fowler in the Caboolture Magistrates Court convicted Mr Ferreira and fined him $3,000, and ordered him to pay prosecution costs of $1,750.
Physiotherapy Board of Australia Chair Kim Gibson welcomed the outcome.
‘Patients have the right to expect that every physiotherapist they see has the qualifications and skill to treat them safely and responsibly, which is why our rigorous registration processes are so important,’ Ms Gibson said.
‘Taking strong action against anyone who tries to take advantage of that trust is vital in allowing the public to have full confidence in registered physiotherapists included on the Register of Practitioners.
Ahpra CEO Mr Martin Fletcher said: ‘This case highlights the importance for practitioners to check on the credentials of those they are referring patients to, and a reminder for the public to consult the public register if they have any doubts about who they are seeing'.
Anyone with concerns about whether an individual is registered can check the Register of practitioners maintained by Ahpra or call 1300 419 495.