Ms Lea Andrews – Registered Nurse – Disqualification for professional misconduct

17 December 2021

The Health Care Complaints Commission prosecuted Ms Lea Andrews, a former registered nurse, before the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal (‘the Tribunal’) in relation to her conduct when working as a mental health nurse at a drug and alcohol facility in the Illawarra Shoalhaven region.  

The complaint alleged that Ms Andrews was guilty of professional misconduct in that she had breached professional boundaries with a patient (Patient A) by conducting a  personal relationship with him between 2016 and 2019, which commenced when she was directly involved in his care. It was also alleged that she inappropriately accessed his medical records. Significantly, Patient A suffered from longstanding mental health issues including chronic paranoid schizophrenia and was known to Ms Andrews to be a vulnerable person.

In September 2021, the Tribunal found all elements of the complaint proven and found Ms Andrews guilty of professional misconduct.

In December 2021, the Tribunal ordered that Ms Andrews’ registration be disqualified with a non-review period of 18-months. The Tribunal remarked that: ‘In the absence of evidence as to Ms Andrews’ insight and remorse, or how she has addressed any vulnerabilities that may have led to her misconduct, the Tribunal considers that there is some risk that she may again fall into a situation where she blurs the boundaries regarded as necessary to allow nurse and patient to engage safely and effectively in any kind of therapeutic relationship’.

The full decision can be found here: NSW Caselaw.

Further information

For further information, contact the Executive Officer of the Health Care Complaints Commission, on 02 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.

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