A Queensland man has been fined $3000 for falsely claiming to be a physiotherapist.
Carlos Adelino Henrique Ferreira – who has never been registered as a physiotherapist and holds no qualifications in physiotherapy – pleaded guilty in Caboolture Magistrates Court on Wednesday to the charge of claiming to be qualified to practise as a physiotherapist in contravention of Section 116(1)(d) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law 2009 (Qld).
In May last year, Ferreira provided a fake certificate for a Bachelor of Physiotherapy and used fake letters of recommendation to lease a room for providing physiotherapy services at a health clinic at Burpengary.
A local medical practice contacted the clinic owner a month later to enquire about referring patients for physiotherapy services. The clinic owner agreed to set up a referral plan with the medical practice, believing that Ferreira was a physiotherapist.
Before any patients were treated, the clinic owner discovered Ferreira was not registered with the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the referral plan was terminated.
Ferreira’s agreement to lease the room was amended to refer to massage services only. However Ferreira continued to describe himself as a physiotherapist in discussions with another health professional at the clinic, and advertised himself online as a physiotherapist. He was subsequently charged by Ahpra.
Physiotherapy Board of Australia Chair Kim Gibson welcomed the outcome.
“Patients have the right to expect that every physiotherapist they see has the qualifications and skill to treat them safely and responsibly, which is why our rigorous registration processes are so important,” Ms Gibson said.
“Taking strong action against anyone who tries to take advantage of that trust is vital in allowing the public to have full confidence in registered physiotherapists included on the Register of Practitioners.”
Ahpra CEO Martin Fletcher said: “This case highlights the importance for practitioners to check on the credentials of those they are referring patients to, and a reminder for the public to consult the public register if they have any doubts about who they are seeing.”
Ferreira was also convicted and ordered to pay court costs of $1750.