File Number: Phys19/461P
Practitioner: Michael Houlding
Hearing Start Date:
Hearing End Date:
Records - inadequate/inappropriate (Established)
Records - inadequately maintained (Established)
Professional standards inadequate (Established)
Name Suppression to Complainant and/or Patient and/or client
Order for interim name suppression for the patients and any identifying details
Order for permanent name suppression for the patients and any identifying details
Precis of Decision:
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered a charge of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Mr Michael Houlding, registered physiotherapist of Tauranga (the Physiotherapist).
The charge alleged in the following Particular and seven sub-particulars that:
Between on or about 1 January 2011 to 26 August 2016 the Physiotherapist failed to keep patient records and/or adequate patient records in respect of 74 patients. The Physiotherapist failed to:
- document informed consent
- record the mechanism of injury, assessment or diagnosis;
- record treatment plan and/or patient goals;
- maintain progress notes with appropriate subjective and objective assessments;
- record appropriate evaluation reassessment of his patients from one treatment to the next and/or failed to set or record patient goals;
- provide a discharge summary when the patient reached the end of treatment;
The conduct either separately or cumulatively amounting to professional misconduct as malpractice or negligence and/or has brought or was likely to bring discredit to the profession.
The Physiotherapist pleaded guilty to the charge and the hearing proceeded by way of an Agreed Summary of Facts.
The Physiotherapist was a registered Accident Compensation Corporation (ACC) treatment provider and had claimed for treatments that he had provided to these patients.
The Tribunal found the charge to be made out in all respects and each of the particulars and sub-particulars of the charge warranted disciplinary sanction both separately and cumulatively.
The Tribunal noted that not only had the Physiotherapist breached his obligations to his patients he had also breached his obligations to the ACC. The ACC relies heavily on the trustworthiness of a physiotherapist that claims for funding. Physiotherapists have a clear professional obligation to keep and maintain proper records for accurate accounting and audit.
The Tribunal was concerned that there continues to be breaches similar to those in this charge, by physiotherapists of their obligations under the ACC funding scheme and record-keeping. Earlier decisions of the Tribunal have set out the importance of these obligations and the Tribunal was concerned that these messages do not appear to have been received. Hearings of this nature incur significant costs to the profession.
The Tribunal was anxious to get the message to the physiotherapy profession that standards must be maintained.
The Tribunal cancelled the Physiotherapist’s registration, censured him and fined him $5,000. The Tribunal also ordered the Physiotherapist pay $27,000 towards the costs of the prosecution and the Tribunal’s hearing of the charge.
The Tribunal directed publication of the decision and a summary.