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Fraud Nurse Convicted

A WOMAN masquerading as a registered nurse has been convicted and fined $1600 plus $130 in court costs.

Margaret Anne Barnes was convicted in the Whangarei District Court on Wednesday of two charges of fraudulently posing as a registered nurse. The 56-year-old, currently employed as a fruit picker, had pleaded guilty to the two charges.

Ministry of Health Senior Enforcement Advisor Alan Freshwater said the two charges related to Barnes' employment at the Ranburn Aged Care Centre in Waipu, starting in September last year, and an interview in April for a position at Kamo Home Village in Kamo.

"The Ranburn position was managerial, but the Hospitals Act required that the person be a registered nurse, to seek exemption or to provide an alternative name as a registered nurse. The job at Kamo was for either a registered nurse or a nurse assistant, and Barnes was to have been employed as a registered nurse.

"In both instances Barnes stated or implied that she was a registered nurse. While the charges relate to employment at only these two homes, the Ministry produced evidence in court to show that Barnes had represented herself as a nurse since at least 1988.

"Barnes often did not occupy a nursing position in her previous jobs, but applied for administrative jobs implying she was a nurse, often receiving higher pay as a result. One employer stated he would not have employed her in a non-nursing position if he had known she did not have registration," Mr Freshwater said.

"Despite our extensive file on Barnes, further charges could not be laid as the Summary Proceedings Act stipulates that charges must be laid within six months of an offence having been committed," Mr Freshwater said.

The Ministry received three or four complaints of people practising without a annual practising certificate each year, but investigations often found their reasons were genuine. Cases of people posing fraudulently as registered nurses were rare, Mr Freshwater said.

ENDS

http://www.moh.govt.nz



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