16 Nov 2020
An Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner has been reprimanded and has had her registration suspended for four months after she admitted to inappropriately viewing patient records.
Ms Amorette Lockyer admitted that she had inappropriately viewed patient medical records at her workplace 3,125 times without any clinical justification or authorisation. This included records of 1,361 individual patients, some of which were accessed multiple times.
The records Ms Lockyer viewed included those of her colleagues and family members, as well as patients who had declined to discuss their presenting complaint with her. Ms Lockyer deliberately accessed the records in a way that would not leave an audit trail in the patient's record.
The parties reached an agreement and, on 17 July 2020, the State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in Western Australia ordered that Ms Lockyer’s conduct constituted professional misconduct. The tribunal reprimanded Ms Lockyer, suspended her registration for four months, and imposed conditions on her registration requiring her to undertake education on ethical decision making and patient confidentiality, and to be supervised while practicing as an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Practitioner.
The tribunal also noted a number of mitigating factors in its final orders. These included the 15-month suspension Ms Lockyer had already been subject to at the time of the orders, her willingness to reach an agreement in the matter and the absence of any previous disciplinary action against her. The tribunal’s orders also record that Ms Lockyer showed significant remorse and had already faced consequences of her actions as a resident of a remote community.
The decision is published on the eCourts portal of Western Australia website.