Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Nurse cancelled and disqualified from applying for registration for six months
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Nurse cancelled and disqualified from applying for registration for six months

29 Feb 2024

A South Australian nurse who stole a prescription pad and forged prescriptions has had her registration cancelled and been disqualified from applying for registration for six months.

Ms Natalya Herzog was referred to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in February 2020 by the Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia (NMBA). The NMBA received a complaint in April 2017 that alleged Ms Herzog had stolen a prescription pad from the consultation room of a psychiatrist when she was attending an appointment with her treating psychiatrist. She later forged several prescriptions for benzodiazepines using the stolen pad, presented them at pharmacies and collected the drugs.

The psychiatrist reported the theft of the prescription pad and Ms Herzog was interviewed by police. She was issued with a formal caution and the prescription pad was returned. However, Ms Herzog kept some forged prescriptions for benzodiazepines.

Ms Herzog disclosed her misconduct to her treating psychiatrist in May 2017. She apologised to the psychiatrist from whom she had stolen the prescription pad giving assurances she would not repeat the behaviour. However, she subsequently presented the forged repeat prescriptions she had kept at a pharmacy. Following this, Ms Herzog was charged with criminal offences related to forging and presenting prescriptions to obtain prescription-only medications. She pleaded guilty and in July 2017 was found guilty of all charges and entered a $500 good behaviour bond.

While the criminal investigation took place, the NMBA took immediate action suspending Ms Herzog’s registration in April 2017.

Ms Herzog admitted the conduct alleged by the NMBA and that it constituted professional misconduct.

At a hearing in August 2020, Ms Herzog argued that she posed no risk to the public because her conduct was driven by substance abuse issues, which she said she had addressed. However, ultimately, the tribunal accepted the NMBA’s view that Ms Herzog had demonstrated a lack of insight into her behaviour and took into account that she had been reprimanded by a performance and professional standards panel in 2015 for similar conduct. The tribunal characterised Ms Herzog’s conduct as being inconsistent with her being a fit and proper person to hold registration as a nurse.

The tribunal ordered that Ms Herzog be reprimanded, that her registration be cancelled and that she be disqualified from applying for registration as a registered health practitioner for six months from the date of the hearing.

The tribunal also ordered Ms Herzog pay the NMBA’s costs of the proceedings.

Read the tribunal’s full decision on AustLii.


Page reviewed 29/02/2024