Mr Robert Ferguson (also known as Bray-Ferguson) – Permanent prohibition order
04 Aug 2017
The Health Care Complaints Commission investigated a complaint about the conduct of Mr Robert Ferguson (Bray-Ferguson), a non-registered health practitioner providing counselling services as a qualified social worker in Grafton. The complaint concerned Mr Ferguson’s care and treatment of an extremely vulnerable and traumatised woman, Client A, between 2012 and 2016 and his involvement in an improper close personal and sexual relationship with her while she remained his client.
The investigation found that Mr Ferguson:
- violated his position of trust and power as a counsellor
- failed to set and maintain clear professional boundaries, through improper personal disclosures on his part; displays of improper physical affection; online, text message and social contact; and engaging in sexual contact
- failed to use the technique of Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprocessing [EMDR] in counselling sessions with Client A safely and ethically
- failed to keep contemporaneous records.
The investigation determined that Mr Ferguson had breached the Code of Conduct for unregistered health practitioners [Schedule 3, Public Health Regulation 2012], in respect of:
- Clause 3(1): a health practitioner must provide health services in a safe and ethical manner;
- Clause 13(1): a health practitioner must not engage in a sexual or other close personal relationship with a client;
- Clause 15: a health practitioner must maintain accurate, legible and contemporaneous clinical records for each client consultation.
The investigation found that Mr Ferguson sought to deceive the Commission with changeable, false and misleading evidence. It found that his lack of insight and his habitual deflection of blame onto others and in particular Client A, meant that he poses a risk to public health and safety.
The Commission therefore makes the following prohibition order:
Robert Ferguson (Bray-Ferguson) is permanently prohibited from providing any health service on a paid or voluntary basis.
The Commission has determined not to make its Statement of Decision public as it contains highly personal and sensitive information.
The full Public Statement can be read here
For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information in this media release is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information regarding the status of a registered health practitioner, including any conditions that currently apply, please check the National Register at www.ahpra.gov.au.