Victorian Nurses Board approves 103 registrations of criminal nurses
By Grant McArthur, Herald Sun
January 24, 2009 03:47am
NURSES guilty of manslaughter, sex offences, arson and torturing animals have been allowed to care for the sick and vulnerable in Victoria.In the past three years the Nurses Board approved registration of 103 nurses who had admitted being found guilty of crimes such as theft, stalking, drug trafficking, possessing child pornography and manslaughter.
The board cancelled registration of two nurses because of their criminal pasts, while the results on another three nurses are unclear, the Herald Sun reports.
Patient advocates and the Opposition want an immediate investigation of registration of some nurses, as well as the process, in light of documents obtained by the Herald Sun through Freedom of Information requests.
But the Nurses Board says it is not concerned that at least 103 of Victoria's 86,000 registered nurses have serious criminal records. Its says its investigation processes ensure public safety.
In 2006 it became mandatory for nurses to disclose their crimes when renewing their registration each year.
Since then the board has been told of:
A NURSE convicted of manslaughter in 1994 whom it re-registered.
THREE nurses guilty of indecent assault who had their registration renewed.
TWO nurses guilty of cruelty to animals.
THREE nurses guilty of recklessly causing serious injury and others who committed serious assault, common assault, unlawful assault, intentionally causing serious injury and negligently causing serious injury.
TWO nurses convicted of stalking.
A NURSE caught with a drug of dependence and taking it into a prison in 2005.
A HOST of theft, fraud and social security offences.
In one instance the board renewed a nurse's registration despite being aware of 19 convictions for arson.
Some offences date back many years, but all were disclosed to the board after 2006.
Medical Error Action Group spokeswoman Lorraine Long accused the state's medical authorities of placing the interests of nurses above those of their patients.
"The Nurses Board is looking at the rights of nurses, but the patients are part of this equation and where are their rights? Who is protecting them?" she said.
Health Services Commissioner Beth Wilson said she had not urged an investigation because the new disclosure requirements may lead to better processes. "When you get a whole lot of disclosures all at once like this you can't possibly investigate them all, particularly when some of them go back to the 1980s . . . What is more important is the nurse's record. Have they been a good nurse and are they well supervised?
"It might be that sometimes people who make mistakes in their life could actually be better nurses."
Opposition health spokeswoman Helen Shardey demanded the board investigate the most serious offences