AHPRA Charges Dropped

Last week RK Law was proud to defend a claim made by AHPRA against an experienced nurse. 

When the complaint was received, the outlook appeared grim for our client. Several statutory declarations from key management staff in the organisation supported the allegations. AHPRA’s accusation looked to revoke our client’s nursing registration. A number of times the nurse asked our team whether the case was worth pursuing. They also questioned if it was worth re-applying for registration for the 2020-2021 registration year.

With the help of RK Law, the wrongful accusation of misconduct was dismissed, and we achieved a great outcome for our client.

Background details of the client and case

Before coming to RK Law, our client was involved in a successful Fair Work proceeding and received a significant pay-out as a result. The day of the pay-out, the other party lodged a complaint with AHPRA which placed the nurse’s registration in jeopardy. 

After leaving the original facility, which the Fair Work claim had been made against, the nurse was re-employed in a very high-paying job in another location. The complaint to the Regulation Agency was used against the nurse to terminate this high-paying job. It was also a further barrier to obtaining other employment in the industry as the nurse had to declare the pending case to prospective employers.

Unable to obtain work locally, the nurse had to live and work in another State from their partner. It was impossible to convince employers to overlook the stigma of “medication thief”, though the nurse was not convicted. At the same time, the nurse’s partner had a deterioration in health, causing them to retire from work. This seriously impacted the couple’s cash-flow and their ability to pay for legal services.

RK Law’s involvement

It was clear in our meetings that the nurse was shocked and unfamiliar with the activities listed in the allegations. 

We organised the nurse to provide independent records such as telephone records and bank transactions. From this, we were able to defend the nurse in the lengthy proceedings.

Our team felt so passionately about the injustice of this case that we chose to represent our client despite their poor financial position and inability to fund the matter. Principal Lawyer Rowan King took the case on Pro Bono, putting in most of the man-hours outside of work. 

The nurse retained RK Law, who successfully defended the allegations and received not only a dismissal of the allegations but justice after a two year battle with a disgruntled former employer. The nursing industry is better having this practitioner, with over 35 years experience, back in the field.

Summary of the case details

The Allegations:
  • Failing to provide pain relief to an acutely ill patient.
  • Stealing medication from a deceased patient.
  • The nurse was employed with an organisation in Queensland in a management capacity.
  • The nurse was terminated by their employer.
  • Fair Work proceedings successfully resulted in a pay-out to the nurse for unfair and unlawful dismissal.
  • On the day that the “pay-out” was transferred to the bank account of the nurse, in accordance with the Fair Work proceedings, a complaint was made to the Regulation Agency about the above allegations.
Evidence for the Complainant:
  • The complainant produced Statutory Declarations from several staff that stated the Nurse had failed to provide treatment to a patient, causing discomfort and the requirement for hospitalisation.
  • Statutory declarations from two staff members that said the Nurse had made multiple phone calls directing a staff member via telephone to steal a deceased patient’s medication and drop it to the Nurses house.
  • Mention was made in the Stat. Decs. to documentary evidence. When requested, these did not actually exist.
Independent Evidence:
  • File Notes and Patient Records.
  • Policies and Procedure Manuals.
  • No evidence of a complaint to police despite theft of medication.
  • Over 9-month delay to report the matters to the Agency.
  • The alleged stolen medication was not a “dependency medication” and it was one which the nurse could not use without causing death or serious injury unless they had the relevant condition the deceased person suffered from.
Evidence for the Nurse:
  • RK Law organised to secure Bank Statements and Phone Records that showed the nurse was at all relevant times in Central NSW on Annual Leave, and the nurse’s partner was in North Queensland having medical treatment.
  • The Board noted that the telephone records demonstrated there was only one phone call from the nurse’s mobile phone to the facility during the relevant period.  That phone call lasted 16 seconds and was made two weekends following the patient’s death. The phone call was made from Central NSW.
  • The evidence gathered by RK Law supported the argument that this was a malicious complaint.

If you need a defence lawyer to stand by you and fight for justice in your situation, then we’d love to help. Find out more about RK Law’s legal services or contact the team today.

Let us defend your future

Get help now

Already know you need RK Law in your corner? 24/7-CALL NOW