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Updates from the Podiatry Board of Australia

Discussion in 'Australia' started by admin, May 11, 2011.

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    Selectively editing reviews or testimonials may break the law

    AHPRA has published further guidance for advertisers of regulated health services to emphasise that selectively editing reviews or testimonials has the potential to break the law.

    The recent example of an organisation only publishing positive reviews and removing all negative information from consumer reviews shows the importance of advertisers understanding their advertising obligations under all relevant legislation.

    Selectively editing reviews or testimonials has the potential to be false, misleading or deceptive and, therefore, be unlawful. For example it is inherently misleading to:

    Reviews influence consumer choice about their healthcare so advertisers must make sure reviews are genuine and not misleading. Advertisers’ moderation guidelines about publishing reviews must comply with the National Law1 and the Australian Consumer Law.

    The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) and National Boards recently published a testimonial tool to help advertisers understand what reviews can and can’t be published.

    ‘We’ve since updated the tool to help advertisers get it right when they are moderating reviews or testimonials against the National Law’s advertising requirements,’ AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said.

    'If advertisers edit reviews or testimonials there is a high risk that the edited reviews will become misleading or deceptive. Only publishing complete and unedited reviews that are not testimonials will help advertisers to avoid breaching the National Law.

    'This is because reviews that don’t refer to the clinical aspects of care are not considered testimonials and, therefore, may be allowed. But even if the review doesn’t breach the ban on using testimonials to advertise, the advertiser may be breaking the law on misleading and deceptive advertising if the review is misleading because it has been edited or does not reflect all the feedback received.'

    Mr Fletcher encouraged all advertisers of regulated health services to consider the use of reviews very carefully and to make sure they meet their obligations under the National Law as well as the Australian Consumer Law.

    ‘Given the significant potential for consumers to be misled, we will consider strong enforcement action where advertisers don’t meet their obligations,’ he said.

    http://www.podiatryboard.gov.au/News/2018-06-13-media-release.aspx
     
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    ‘Having your registration cancelled means you cannot claim to be registered’ says AHPRA as regulators win conviction

    09 Aug 2018

    Mr Marek Jantos has been sentenced in the Adelaide Magistrates Court this week after being convicted of holding himself out as a registered psychologist and unlawfully using a specialist medical title, following charges laid by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA).

    A company operated by Mr Jantos, Behavioural Medicine Institute of Australia, was also convicted of misleading and deceptive advertising.

    Mr Jantos and his company were fined a total of $16,000.

    Mr Jantos pleaded guilty to two charges which included unlawfully claiming to be a specialist in the field of ‘pain medicine’ and unlawfully claiming to be a registered psychologist. The Behavioural Medicine Institute of Australia pleaded guilty to a charge of false, misleading or deceptive advertising of a regulated health service.

    In 2007, Mr Jantos’ registration as a psychologist was cancelled by the then Psychology Board of South Australia. At the time the Board maintained the decision was necessary ‘in order to protect the public from similar behaviour.’ The behaviour considered by the Board included invasive physical therapy in the context of psychological treatment.

    AHPRA alleged that between 21 May 2014 and 30 June 2014, Mr Jantos displayed signage at his business premises stating he was a Member of the Australian Psychological Society (MAPS). Mr Jantos has not been a registered psychologist since 25 June 2007 and resigned his membership of MAPS on 6 May 2008. This and other examples of signage at his premises could have falsely led patients to believe he was a registered psychologist.

    In addition, AHPRA alleged that between 17 April 2014 and 30 June 2014 Mr Jantos used terminology that would lead patients to believe he was a medical specialist. On a referral form he included the title ‘Dr Marek Jantos PhD’ in conjunction with ‘Chronic Urogenital Pain Clinics’ along with sections to be completed by the ‘Referring Doctor.’ This referral form, along with an advertising placard displayed at the premises advertising pain medicine, indicated that Mr Jantos was qualified as a specialist medical practitioner in the field of pain medicine when he was not.

    Mr Jantos’ own website and other websites also misled the public by referring to Mr Jantos using words such as ‘clinician’ and stating ‘his clinical specialty is Behavioural Medicine.’ On one website he was described as ‘one of Australia’s pioneering clinicians in the therapeutic management of female sexual pain disorders.’

    AHPRA CEO Martin Fletcher said the outcome underlines the important role of the law relating to registration of health practitioners to ensure patient safety.

    ‘Under the National Law, anyone who calls themselves any of the ‘protected titles’, such as ‘medical practitioner’ or ‘psychologist’, including specialist titles, must be registered.. If someone’s registration is cancelled they cannot misrepresent themselves as being a registered health practitioner.

    ‘This case also shows investigations relating to individuals falsely claiming to be a registered health practitioner can be multifaceted. They can involve multiple professions, in this case medicine and psychology, and offending can occur through a variety of media including physical advertising, internet-related behaviour, and even the printed material and information found in consulting rooms.’

    Medical Board of Australia Chair, Dr Joanna Flynn AM and Psychology Board of Australia Chair, Professor Brin Grenyer reflected that this case reaffirms the vital role the public Register of practitioners plays in protecting the public.

    ‘The online register lets patients check if a doctor is registered and meets Australian standards. It helps them make informed decisions, which improve patient safety,’ Dr Flynn said.

    ‘Protecting the public is of paramount importance to National Boards. If someone believes that they are being treated by a person who is not registered or who might be misusing a protected title we want to know about it. If a patient cannot find a health practitioner on the register – please think twice about going to see them and let AHPRA know on 1300 419 495,’ Professor Grenyer added.

    Make sure you are seeing a registered health practitioner

    It is a serious matter if anyone who is not a registered health practitioner claims to be a registered health practitioner or uses titles that are protected under the National Law (e.g. medical practitioner or psychologist). Both are offences and may be prosecuted by AHPRA.

    The National Law protects the public by ensuring that only registered health practitioners who are suitably trained and qualified are able to use protected titles. The law allows for penalties to be issued by the Court for using protected titles or holding out as a registered practitioner when not entitled to. The maximum penalty which a court may impose per charge is $30,000 (in the case of an individual) or $60,000 (in the case of a body corporate).

    It is important that you ensure that the practitioner you are seeing is appropriately registered. Anyone receiving treatment from a person who is claiming to be registered when they are not is a cause for concern. Remember to check the Register of practitioners or you can raise a concern by calling 1300 419 495.
     
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