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Former medical practitioner fined for false claims

The Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency, on behalf of the Medical Board of Australia, has successfully prosecuted a former medical practitioner for falsely claiming to be a registered medical practitioner.

Ms Cynthia Weinstein is the owner and practice manager of CDC Clinics, located in Melbourne, Victoria. She pleaded guilty in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court to a charge of recklessly holding herself out as a registered medical practitioner between 8 November 2014 and 22 October 2015, under section 116(1)(c) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (the National Law).

CDC Clinics was also charged with and pleaded guilty to holding Ms Weinstein out as a registered medical practitioner in respect of 22 October 2015.

After the magistrate found the charges against Ms Weinstein and her company to be proven, the court adjourned the proceeding for a period of two and a half years, with Ms Weinstein to be on probation for that time. Ms Weinstein was also ordered to pay a fine of $10,000 and prosecution costs of $35,000.

Since surrendering her registration in 2010, Ms Weinstein has retrained as a lawyer and is seeking to be admitted to the legal profession. As such, Ms Weinstein was sentenced without a conviction as the magistrate decided it may have a negative impact on her chances of success in law.

The magistrate found that the monetary penalty imposed on Ms Weinstein was significant, and that requiring Ms Weinstein to undertake ‘good behaviour’ for the duration of the adjournment would protect the public and address issues of both general and specific deterrence.

CDC Clinics was also convicted and ordered to pay a fine of $15,000.

In related news, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) recently issued guidelines for medical practitioners who perform cosmetic medical and surgical procedures. The guidelines, which take effect on 1 October 2016, are designed to help keep patients safe, without imposing an unreasonable regulatory burden on practitioners.

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