People caught impersonating a nurse or midwife will now face up to three years in jail, or a fine of up to $60 000 after federal and state governments legislated for tougher penalties.
The new penalties are in response to a series of prosecutions by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA), where the available penalties failed to satisfy health ministers across the country.
AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the strengthened sanctions better protect the public.
‘All health ministers recognise that penalties need to be tougher for serious cases. When someone pretends to be a registered health practitioner, they pose a significant risk to the public.
‘We don’t hesitate to act when someone is pretending to be a registered practitioner. I send a message [that] if you claim to be registered when you’re not – you will face serious consequences when you are caught,’ said Mr Fletcher.
The new penalties will apply across Australia from today, with the exception of Western Australia.
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