Heath fined for breaches
‘‘ It is just as well he took advice from his solicitor . . . to pull his head in and join the society.’’
Wanaka pharmacist Aaron Heath’s long-held, ’’rooted objection’’ to joining the Pharmaceutical Society has resulted in censure for practising for nearly two months in 2015 without a practising certificate.
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal also fined Heath $1250 and ordered him to pay total costs of $10,979.71, after a hearing in Christchurch on September 13.
The Pharmacy Council of New Zealand’s professional conduct committee laid disciplinary charges against Heath under the Health Practitioners Assurance Act 2003, after Heath failed to apply for his certificate by April 1, 2015.
The tribunal heard that Heath had applied by email, instead of the required hard copy, at 10.18pm on March 31, 2015 less than two hours before his certificate expired at midnight.
His application was rejected because it was incomplete in relation to his compliance with society requirements.
After much to-ing and fro-ing of correspondence, his hard copy application was received and approved on May 22, 2015.
It was the third time Heath had failed to apply on time.
In 2010 and 2014, the council sought explanations but took no further action.
In 2014 Heath was put on notice to participate in the council- approved recertification gramme from then on.
Heath’s conscientious objection to the ENHANCE recertification programme provided by the Pharmaceutical Society of New Zealand was outlined in an agreed statement of facts.
ENHANCE is the only councilapproved mechanism for completing continuing professional development. It is the only option pharmacists have got to verify compliance.
In an October 6 decision, the tribunal noted Heath’s ’’longstanding differences’’ with the society and ‘‘rooted objection’’ to becoming a member.
The tribunal stressed Heath had ‘‘consistently accepted the importance of [continuing professional development] and, as far as we are aware, completed all necessary CPD requirements’’.
He had unreservedly apologised and did not seek suppression.
‘‘The charge relates to his status, not his actions,’’ the tribunal said.