Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency - Panel hearing summary 2020.0889
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Panel hearing summary 2020.0889

Decision of the Physiotherapy Board of Australia

Performance and professional standards panel 

Jurisdiction: Queensland
Date of Decision: 31 August 2020

Classification of Notification

Boundary violation - Inappropriate sexual relationship


The Board referred allegations that the Practitioner breached professional boundaries by engaging in a personal relationship with Patient A. This included meeting Patient A socially outside of consultations, speaking to Patient A in detail about his ongoing romantic relationship with another patient (Patient B), allowing Patient A to visit her at home, and engaging in extensive telephone and SMS communications with Patient A outside of consultations.

In addition, the Practitioner failed to maintain professional boundaries with Patient B by forming a relationship with Patient B’s partner, Patient A. The Practitioner discussed personal details relating to Patient B with Patient A, including the romantic relationship between them.

The Practitioner conceded that she had formed a personal relationship with Patient A. The Panel did not accept the Practitioner’s submission that her and Patient A had a ‘purely platonic friendship’. In the Panel’s view, the relationship between the Practitioner and Patient A reflected a level of engagement beyond that of just friendship.

The Practitioner admitted that she failed to maintain professional boundaries with Patient B. The Panel felt the Practitioner’s behaviour demonstrated a flagrant disregard for the health and wellbeing of Patient B, who was also her patient.

The Panel decided that the Practitioner had behaved in a way that constitutes unprofessional conduct. The Panel decided to caution the Practitioner and impose conditions on her registration requiring her to participate in a six month mentoring program in relation to professional boundaries with an experienced, titled physiotherapist.

Page reviewed 22/08/2023