Jack Leitner represented a Registered Psychologist who was subject of a complaint to the Health Care Complaints Commission pursuant to the Health Care Complaints Act 1993 (NSW). Due to our client’s professional standing as a Registered Psychologist, the complaints against our client were also considered by the Psychology Council of NSW, with the prospect of our client facing disciplinary action including being publicly reprimanded and/or our client’s registration being adversely affected or even cancelled.
The Health Care Complaints Commission received a complaint about our client alleging that our client, as a Registered Psychologist, provided incorrect and misleading information about the AstraZeneca vaccine and that our client advised clients not to receive this vaccine. The Health Care Complaints Commission were required to consult with the Psychology Council of NSW regarding this complaint with a view to determining what action, if any, was to be taken against our client. If the complaints were proved, our client faced the prospect of disciplinary action, placing our client at risk of our client’s reputation being publicly tarnished, or worse, potential risk to our client’s Registration as a Psychologist.
Our client strongly denied any wrongdoing and approached Mr. Jack Leitner from Australian Lawyers and Advocates to protect their interests in responding to the complaints made to the Health Care Complaints Commission.
Mr. Leitner carefully examined the complaint received by the Health Care Complaints Commission and obtained meticulous details from our client. Mr. Leitner identified that the complaint made against our client was lacking in several aspects including that it lacked any credible evidence and specificity against our client. In preparing the response to the complaint, Mr. Leitner noted that our client:
- Vehemently denied any wrongdoing.
- Had been a psychologist for a period of 30 years and had never been the subject of any complaint.
- Was aware of their professional and ethical obligations as a psychologist.
- Strongly maintained that no advice was provided to clients regarding vaccines, instead that clients were advised consult with their GP.
- Was fully vaccinated with the AstraZeneca Vaccine and that it was implausible, in those circumstances for our client to be advocating against or providing incorrect or misleading information about the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Mr. Leitner also highlighted that in light of the lack of evidence and detail in the complaint against our client that there was a lack of procedural fairness afforded to our client regarding an ability to respond to the exact nature and circumstances of the complaints made against our client and for our client to be in a position to provide corroborating evidence or other material in support of any response to the conduct alleged. Mr. Leitner also noted that there did not appear to have been any thorough investigation of the complaint against our client prior to it being raised with our client. Mr. Leitner indicated any adverse findings by the Health Care Complaints Commission or any other similar regulatory body against our client would be challenged and that in the circumstances, the evidence was such that the Health Care Complaints Commission was urged to make no other finding other than the complaint being dismissed against our client without any further action.
After careful consideration of all of the information, in particular our detailed response to the Health Care Complaints Commission, the Health Care Complaints Commission dismissed the complaints against our client and decided not to take any further action, noting the lack of evidence to substantiate the allegations and lack of detail in the complaint itself. After a meeting with the Psychology Council of NSW, The Health Care Complaints Commission and the Psychology Council of NSW agreed that the complaints be dismissed and that no further action be required in this matter.
Our client was very relieved to have been cleared of any wrongdoing and to have had no case to answer. This case highlights the importance of engaging lawyers who are highly knowledgeable and experienced lawyers and advocates in the field of professional regulation law. Our reputation and results speak for themselves, and this case is another example of our ability to obtain the best outcomes for our clients.