01 Dec 2023
A Victorian tribunal has found a paramedic who falsified his registration certificate engaged in professional misconduct and suspended him for 12 months.
On 21 March 2022, the Paramedicine Board of Australia (the Board) referred Mr Christopher Pickard-Clark to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) for falsifying his registration certificate as a paramedic and holding himself out as a registered paramedic without conditions when in fact he had conditions requiring him to be supervised.
The tribunal found the conduct was professional misconduct, ordered he be reprimanded, suspended for 12 months, and imposed a condition to complete education on ethics, as part of his re-registration.
When Mr Pickard-Clark was registered as a paramedic on 30 December 2019, his registration was granted was subject to the condition he complete 1,700 hours of supervised practice. Mr Pickard-Clark began to work self-employed as a paramedic, providing first-aid services for local events such as markets, car club meets and school camps but with the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic, his business suffered greatly.
In February 2021, he was asked to provide paramedic/first-aid services for a private school camp. He was keen to get the contract but the school required a certificate of registration. This is when he provided a ‘doctored’ registration certificate to the school, who then discovered there was a discrepancy between the certificate and the official record and cancelled the contract. On the 8 April 2021, the school notified Ahpra. Mr Pickard-Clark made full admissions to the conduct.
The tribunal stated Mr Pickard-Clark had failed to comply with the Board’s Code of Conduct requiring ‘paramedics be ethical and trustworthy, honest, and display a standard of behaviour that warrants the trust and respect of the community’.
While the tribunal recognised Mr Pickard-Clark was truly remorseful and did not have a disciplinary history, it considered his conduct, in falsifying his registration certificate, was blatantly dishonest and required a response that deters other practitioners from such behaviour. The tribunal considered a period of 12 months out of practice sufficient to send that message and that the education requirement will reinforce the basis of Mr Pickard-Clark’s ethical obligations.
Read the tribunal’s full decision on the AustLII website.