RN Mr Shams Aref – Suspension for Professional Misconduct

22 August 2018

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against a Mr Shams Aref, a registered nurse, before the New South Wales Civil and Administrative Tribunal.  The complaint alleged unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct in relation to Mr Aref’s inappropriate access of electronic medical records.  Specifically, it was alleged that:

  • Mr Aref accessed the electronic medical records of patients by using another staff member’s access to the system (he did not have access to the system),
  • Mr Aref did not have the patients’ consent,
  • The patients were not patients in the Hospital at the time and were not directly under Mr Aref’s care which was a breach of their confidentiality and/or privacy, and
  • The records were accessed for Mr Aref’s personal interest.

On 16 August 2018 the Tribunal found the complaint proven and Mr Aref guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct. The Tribunal found that Mr Aref unprofessionally and improperly accessed multiple health records and did so with an intent to advance his own interests and to damage at least some of the patients whose privacy he breached “and that this was a most serious abuse of his professional position”. The Tribunal noted that the safekeeping and proper use of health information is vital to the health and safety of the public, and that patients must be able to trust that the private health information that they provide to health professionals .

The Tribunal determined that :

1.       Mr Aref be formally reprimanded for breach of patient privacy and confidentiality.
2.       Mr Aref’s registration is suspended for a period of six months from this date.

The decision is available at NSW Caselaw: https://www.caselaw.nsw.gov.au/decision/5b721f5be4b09e9963071b22

Further Information

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.