Two fined for Restricted Health Activities

Media release

05 June 2014
Please attribute any comments to Chief Medical Officer Dr Don Mackie.

Two individuals have been convicted and sentenced in New Plymouth for performing activities restricted to registered health professionals.

Brendan and Joanne Pittwood were today fined $90,000 in total for breaches of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003.

Both had been advertising their services as osteopaths when neither were registered.  
Brendan Pittwood had never been an osteopath.  Joanne Pittwood had been an osteopath in the past, but was suspended in 2007 and had never reregistered.

The offences related to neck manipulations where the head is quickly twisted and a click is heard. 

The procedure carries a number of risks and the court heard that their actions caused a serious breach of trust with the patients they treated while unregistered.

With spinal manipulation there is a risk that is minimised through practitioners being professionally registered, having appropriate training and being involved in continuing education.

Background

The Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, that the two practitioners breached, is designed to protect the public by ensuring that health practitioners are competent and fit to practice their profession.

The law requires health professionals covered by the Act to be qualified, registered and to have an annual practicing certificate.

 

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