Nurse gambled away patient’s money
A NURSE at a Queensland mental health facility transferred $11,000 from a schizophrenic patient's bank account and gambled it away at casinos over four days, a tribunal heard.
Yogeshkumar Patel had obtained the patient's bank account details when he helped him to set up a gambling app on his mobile phone, Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal was told.
The patient was under a forensic order, receiving treatment in The Park Centre for Mental Health at Wacol for paranoid schizophrenia, anti-social personality disorder and poly-substance abuse.
He also was being treated for a gambling addiction.
The patient received a fortnightly Centrelink payment in his bank account.
Over four days in June, 2016, Mr Patel transferred a total of $11,000 from the patient's account to his own bank account, in eight transactions.
He then spent the money gambling at casinos on three separate days.
The tribunal heard Mr Patel had an undiagnosed gambling addiction and was also drinking alcohol to excess at the time he gambled with the patient's money.
Two days after the patient's bank told him that there was suspected fraudulent activity and his online bank account was frozen, Mr Patel transferred the $11,000 back into the patient's account.
He had borrowed the money from an associate.
The patient then refused to proceed with a formal complaint to police and Mr Patel was never criminally charged.
In June, 2016, West Moreton Hospital and Health Service notified the Office of the Health Ombudsman about Mr Patel's conduct.
In November that year the Health Ombudsman imposed conditions on his nursing registration, barring him from practising in any role with direct or indirect patient contact.
In 2018, Mr Patel was allowed to have patient contact between Monday and Friday and later allowed to work as a registered nurse in an educator role, where there was no patient contact.
All conditions were removed last year, after Mr Patel completed a "safe professional boundaries'' course and he began working as a nurse in Tasmania.
The tribunal recognised the 2.5 year period when Mr Patel was unable to find work as a registered nurse, because of the conditions, as "a de facto suspension''.
On December 4, tribunal Deputy President Judge John Allen ordered that he be reprimanded for professional misconduct.