The latest insights from our Health Law team.
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Counsellor convicted after claiming to be a psychologist
The New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission received complaints alleging that a counsellor, Mr David Citer, was falsely holding himself out to be a registered psychologist. Mr Citer had referred to himself as a “Specialist Child, Adolescent and Family Psychologist” in emails to a registered psychologist. However, Mr Citer had never been registered as a health practitioner or student under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law).
The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) subsequently filed two charges against Mr Citer in the Local Court of New South Wales.
The first charge alleged that Mr Citer had breached the National Law by “knowingly or recklessly” using a title that indicated he was either authorised or qualified to practise as a psychologist.
A second charge was later filed which alleged that Mr Citer had given an AHPRA inspector a document containing known false or misleading information when he provided copies of emails that had been altered so that the word “psychologist” had been removed from his email signature.
Mr Citer was convicted on 9 May 2018 of both charges and fined $8,000 for the first charge and $1,500 for the second. He was also ordered to pay AHPRA’s legal costs of $5,000.
You can read more about the case on AHPRA’s website.
ACCC pings GAIA
Dreamz Pty Ltd, trading as GAIA Skin Naturals was found to allegedly be making misleading and deceptive representations after claiming their baby shampoo, moisturiser and bath wash were ‘pure, natural and organic’. The company has paid fines worth $37,800 for including sodium hydroxyl methyl glycerinate and phenoxyethanol in its products.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has been pursuing companies that describe their products as organic and enforcing fines where their goods oppose the Australian Consumer Law.
Click here for the full ACCC media release.
Queensland court case allows a woman access to her deceased partner’s sperm
On 20 June 2018, the Supreme Court of Queensland handed down a decision granting a young woman (Ms Creswell) to use her deceased partner's sperm for the purposes of reproduction.
Back in August 2016, Ms Cresswell bought an urgent application to the Supreme Court of Queensland the day after the death of her partner, seeking orders for the removal of the deceased's sperm and testes for the purposes of artificial insemination.
The Court considered whether section 22 of the Transplantation and Anatomy Act 1979 (Qld) ("Act') applied, and if it did, whether it authorised the removal of Mr Davies’ gametes. The Court concluded that section 22 of the Act does apply to the removal from a deceased person and that the requirements under the section were substantially met.
The Court also considered whether the deceased's sperm was property capable of being possessed. The Court held that a sperm removed from a deceased person is capable of constituting property, where work and skill has been exercised in relation to its removal, separation and preservation. Otherwise, a sperm could only constitute property where the separation from the body occurred while the donor was living and consented to the removal. It was noted by the Court that the sperm of a deceased, not removed while he is living, is not capable of property and does not form part of their estate upon death.
Read more about this case here.
End of Life Directions for Aged Care project launched
On 15 June 2018, the Commonwealth Government formally launched the End of Life Directions for Aged Care (ELDAC) project. The project includes a new website which is intended to be a one-stop resource for support and advice on palliative care and advance care planning.
The website was developed by a consortium of eight partners, which included Australian universities and peak bodies such as Aged & Community Services Australia (ACSA) and Leading Age Services Australia (LASA). The ELDAC consortium has also developed toolkits as well as a telephone and web-based support service for those working in aged care and primary health care.
Read the Government’s media release here and access the ELDAC website here.