File Number: DH11/190P
Practitioner: Gerrie Gertruda Janssen
Hearing Start Date:
Hearing End Date:
Hearing Town/City: Auckland
Legislation – breach of Crimes Act 1961
Following a conviction of assault with a weapon
Precis of Decision:
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Ms Gerrie Gertruda Janssen, Dental Hygienist of Auckland (the Dental Hygienist). The charge alleged she had been convicted of assault with a weapon which reflected adversely on her fitness to practice.
On a night out at Sky City Casino, the Dental Hygienist was involved in an altercation and assaulted another patron over the head with an empty bottle and wine glass. She admitted the conviction but she did not accept that the offence reflected adversely on her fitness as a dental hygienist.
Counsel for the Dental Hygienist submitted that her job did not have the same standing in the community as other health professionals, such as a dentist or a doctor, and therefore it may be that this conviction does not reflect adversely on her fitness to practice when it might reflect adversely on a doctor's or a dentist's.
The Tribunal found that the charge was established and expressly rejected the submission that assault does not reflect adversely on a dental hygienist's practice. The Tribunal considered ethical behaviour is required by all health practitioners and a suggestion that there should be ranking of the professions could not be correct.
The Tribunal were completely satisified that violence should not be tolerated in health professionals and that violence in response to anger, as was the case in this charge, did clearly reflect adversely on her fitness to practice. The Tribunal noted a further aggravating feature was that the assallt was around the face which as all dental hygienists know can cause permanent damage.
The Tribunal suspended the Dental Hygienist for a period of 3 months commencing 6 months from the date of the decision. The suspension would only take effect if on the date the suspension was due to commence she did not provide a certificate to the Registrar of the Dental Council confirming that no further complaints have been made against her.
The Tribunal censured the Dental Hygienist and ordered her to pay 25% of the costs. It directed publication of the decision and a summary.