RN Michelle Gallard – Stage 1 - Professional misconduct - impairment proven

28 Nov 2017

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘the Tribunal) against Michelle Gallard, a registered nurse and midwife. The complaint alleged unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct in relation to one incident of misappropriating a schedule 8 drug for her own use and various additional incidents involving the handling and administration of opioids. The complaint also alleged that RN Gallard has an impairment, namely, opioid dependence. The nurse denied each of the complaints except for two minor sub-particulars which she did not admit amounted to unsatisfactory professional conduct. The hearing before the Tribunal took place over six days and involved evidence from 19 witnesses.

On 27 November 2017 the Tribunal published its stage 1 decision, finding most of the conduct alleged proven and that the practitioner was guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The Tribunal found that the practitioner was “not an impressive witness” and in its reasons indicated that in general it preferred the evidence of other witnesses to Ms Gallard. In relation to the complaint of impairment, the Tribunal accepted that the practitioner had suffered from chronic pain for many years, however, found that her extreme reluctance to seek assistance or to reduce or cease her usage is indicative of dependence, and accordingly that she suffers from an impairment that is likely to detrimentally affect her ability to practise.

Decision

The Tribunal ordered that the matter proceed to a stage 2 hearing to determine the appropriate protective orders.

Further Information

The full decisions are available at the Caselaw

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 9219 7444 or send an email to media@hccc.nsw.gov.au.

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.