Oncology unit doctor fined for working while unregistered


By Geir O'Rourke

1 Apr 2024

A doctor has been fined and sentenced to a community correction order by a court after spending months working in specialist units at two major Sydney hospitals after not renewing her medical registration with AHPRA.

Dr Lisa Baynes, 32, pleaded guilty to two counts of not registering as a health practitioner and claiming to be registered when she appeared in the Downing Centre Local Court last month.

Agreed facts tendered to court said the South African-trained IMG, who emigrated to Australia in 2019, had previously held limited registration permitting her to undertake supervised practice as a medical practitioner.

On 11 June 2021 Dr Baynes’ registration expired after she failed to renew it, despite receiving reminders by email and post. Over the next 33 days, Dr Baynes continued to work as a medical doctor in an oncology unit of a Sydney hospital.

She was stood down on 13 July 2021 when her registration status was identified by her employer. She applied to Ahpra for registration after being stood down and became registered again with limited registration on 10 August 2021.

Dr Baynes again failed to renew her registration in 2022, despite reminders from Ahpra by email and telephone. Between 10 September 2022 and 18 January 2023 she continued to work as a medical doctor in cardiology and neurology units at another Sydney hospital. She was stood down by her employer after they discovered her registration status on 18 January 2023.

Dr Baynes now holds general registration with the Board and is currently entitled to practise as a medical practitioner. The regulator has stressed there is no suggestion that Dr Baynes caused any harm to any patient during the time in which she was not registered.

After taking into account Dr Baynes’ personal circumstances, early plea of guilty and cooperation, Magistrate Susan Horan decided a conviction was appropriate.

For the first period of time when Dr Baynes worked without registration, she was fined $1,000. Noting that the second period of offending was more serious, longer and committed with full knowledge that she was not registered, Magistrate Horan sentenced Dr Baynes to an 18-month community correction order.

In sentencing on Wednesday 13 March, Magistrate Horan noted that the offending was not trivial, that registration is more than just filling out a form and paying a fee, and there is a ‘significant need for general deterrence’ for these types of matters.

‘There is an expectation from members of the public that their treating practitioner at a hospital is suitably registered.’ Magistrate Horan said.

Dr Baynes was also ordered to pay $7,000 of Ahpra’s legal costs.

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