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  • Woman fined for offering therapy while unregistered

    Author: AAP

A Queensland woman who offered occupational therapy to people affected by illness and injury without the required medical registration has been convicted and fined.

Sharon Joy Stay, from the Mount Mee area, was found guilty in her absence at Caboolture Magistrates Court on Wednesday of one charge of describing herself as an occupational therapist.

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Last year the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (AHPRA) discovered Stay was offering occupational therapy services to members of the public via her business websites, which allowed clients to book and pay for occupational therapy sessions with her.

The AHPRA stated Stay falsely claimed to investigators that she was exempt from any legal requirement to be registered as an occupational therapist.

The agency also alleged Stay continued to describe herself as an occupational therapist after being on notice that she was under investigation.

Stay failed to appear in court on Wednesday, which led to the magistrate convicting her, fining her fine $4000 and ordering her pay legal costs to AHPRA of $1750.

Stay's website, which remained online after her court case, stated she had offered occupational therapy as a "private practice sole trader" since 2020 and that she had worked in the health system since 1994 after spending four years in aged care.

AHPRA chief executive Martin Fletcher welcomed the court's decision.

"Describing yourself as an occupational therapist if you are not registered is illegal and does have consequences," Mr Fletcher said.

Mr Fletcher said anyone seeking care should first check if their health practitioner was listed on AHPRA's public register.

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