Mr Robert Jarvis - permanently prohibited from providing any health services
23 Oct 2014
The NSW Health Care Complaints Commission conducted an investigation into the professional conduct of Mr Robert Jarvis in his capacity as a meditation instructor at the Wollongong Wellness Centre, a holistic health and prevention centre owned and managed by him.
The investigation found that on 4 April 2013, whilst conducting a meditation session, Mr Jarvis breached Clause 3(1) of the Code of Conduct for Unregistered Health Practitioners (“Code of Conduct”) when he failed to provide a health service in a safe and ethical manner. Mr Jarvis’ conduct was unsafe and unethical in that:
- he decided to proceed with the class even though there was only one much younger female in attendance and the Centre did not ordinarily offer individual classes;
- he was subject to a prohibition order preventing him from providing any health services at the time;
- he took no action to ensure the client was comfortable to proceed as the only participant in a darkened room with the door closed;
- he asked the client if he could put his hands on her;
- he did not give the client a rationale for wanting to touch her or explain that his touch would entail putting pressure on various parts of her head and neck for an extended period of time;
- he put his hands on the client’s forehead and applied pressure and placed both of his hands on her neck underneath her chin and applied increased pressure, asking her “are you scared, are you frightened now?”;
- whilst he had his hands on the client’s neck, his groin was in contact with and pressing into her body, at the level of her upper back or neck and he was swaying from side to side;
- the client felt fearful and intimidated as a result of his conduct, but he continued to make physical contact with her despite being aware that she was frightened.
The investigation found that Mr Jarvis engaged in gratuitous, opportunistic and inappropriate physical contact with a much younger female client during a meditation session. Despite the fact that Mr Jarvis ought to have been aware that the young woman found the situation extremely frightening, he maintained physical contact with her for an extended period of time.
The investigation found that Mr Jarvis continues to demonstrate a concerning lack of insight into his responsibilities as a health service provider to respect the importance of boundaries, to acknowledge the potential vulnerability of clients and to instil and maintain trust between himself and clients at all times.
The Commission is satisfied that Mr Jarvis breached the Code of Conduct and that he poses a risk to the health or safety of members of the public.
The Commission therefore makes the following prohibition order:
Mr Jarvis is permanently prohibited from providing any health services, either paid or on a voluntary basis, where the provision of such services involves contact with clients or patients in either a group or individual setting. This prohibition order extends to the conduct of individual or group meditation sessions as part of education or advertising programs conducted by the Wellness Centre or any other such organisation with which Mr Jarvis is affiliated.
This prohibition order does not prohibit Mr Jarvis from undertaking the administrative functions and tasks required to manage and operate the Wellness Centre or any other such organisation with which Mr Jarvis is affiliated.
Under section 41B(3)(c) of the Health Care Complaints Act 1993, the Commission has determined to make this Statement of Decision publicly available.
The Commission’s statement of decision is available here.
The related media release is available 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 statement is correct at the time of publication. Orders may change; for example, conditions may no longer apply. For current information, contact the Commission