Issues

The Applicant lodged an appeal seeking review of a decision made by the Nursing and Midwifery Council of NSW not to remove conditions imposed on her registration. The Tribunal were required to determine whether it was appropriate that the conditions be removed.

Background

The Applicant for several years had dealt with mental health issues, which in some instances resulted in periods of treatment in and out of hospital.  After a complaint was made that the Applicant was being treated for depression and alcohol consumption, the Applicant was referred to a psychiatric assessment where conditions were imposed on her registration.

After further allegations of working while under the influence of drugs and administering her own medication to a patient, the Applicant had further conditions imposed. Specifically, the Applicant had to be indirectly or directly supervised and was unable to administer, check or handle drugs. Her employment was subsequently terminated.

The Applicant presented herself to numerous psychiatric assessments to have the conditions removed, however they remained on her registration. Consequently, the Applicant struggled to find employment because although she secured job interviews, once employers were informed of the conditions attached to her registration they operated as an impediment to eventual employment.  

Findings

The Tribunal set aside the decision of the Council and ordered that all conditions on the Applicant’s registration be removed:

  • There is no practical utility to the conditions as she has been unable to secure employment.
  • The conditions have been unable to serve their purpose, which was to provide some objective evidence as to the Applicant’s progress.
  • The Applicant is acutely aware of the potential consequences on her registration if her mental health is not adequately monitored or addressed.
  • The protection of the public is not compromised by the removal of the Applicant’s conditions.

Read the decision here: Howard v Nursing and Midwifery Council of New South Wales [2019] NSWCATOD 176

For more information or discussion, please contact our Health Law team.