RN Lainie Drinkwater – Unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct - Reprimand and Registration Cancelled

24 April 2019

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted a complaint against four registered nurses alleging unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct in relation to their conduct surrounding the suicide death of Ms Ahlia Raftery.  Ms Raftery was 18 years old at the time of her death and was a patient in the Psychiatric Intensive Care Unit (‘PICU’) at the Mater Mental Health Centre on 18/19 March 2015, having been admitted for her high suicide risk. RN Drinkwater was the Nurse in Charge of the night shift on 18/19 March 2015.

The complaint alleged a failure to undertake appropriate observations in relation to all four nurses and in relation to RN  Drinkwater there were additional allegations regarding failure in performing the duties expected of a Nurse in Charge. 

On 19 March 2019 the Tribunal found RN Drinkwater guilty of unsatisfactory professional conduct and professional misconduct.  The Tribunal found that despite the observation policy requiring a minimum sighting of Ms Raftery every 15 minutes, “an observation of a patient who is awake cannot occur in circumstances where the patient is only partially visible and their facial expression cannot be seen. A ‘sighting’ in such circumstances is not an observation because it does not provide the ability for the necessary clinical assessment to be made”.

On 24 April 2019 the Tribunal handed down its orders.  It reprimanded RN Drinkwater and cancelled her registration, with a non-review period of 12 months. 

Further Information

The Stage 1 decision is available on NSW Caselaw here.

The Stage 2 decision is available at NSW Caselaw here.

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.