$90,000 fine over illegal health treatments

ISOBEL EWING
Last updated 05:00 06/06/2014

Relevant offers

Health

Marlborough primary school pupils doing their bit to stop winter bugs Former Wanaka Lakes Health Centre manager Richard Beven stole $730k Health professionals call for vigilance following meningococcal death Palmerston North to host fat studies conference Medicinal cannabis user goes public to denounce ministry review Former psychiatric nurse sentenced for indecent assault on co-worker MidCentral DHB efforts to improve mental health care blows out budget Q and A: retiring St Marks manager Lois Millar Ombudsman rejects Southern DHB bid to keep secret drug company gifts 'Hold your teens': mum of 15-year-old with rare cancer shares her story of love

A New Plymouth couple who offered osteopath services illegally have been fined more than $90,000.

Brendan Pittwood, 46, and Joanne Pittwood, 44, have pleaded guilty to nine charges between them of illegally performing a manipulative technique.

Both had been advertising their services as osteopaths when neither were registered.

Brendan Pittwood admitted six charges under the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act 2003, incurring fines totalling $60,780, and Joanne Pittwood admitted three charges, incurring fines totalling $30,390.

Complaints from patients dated from August 2010 to February 2013, the New Plymouth District Court was told. Brendan had never been an osteopath and although Joanne had been in the past, she was suspended in 2007 and had not reregistered.

The risks of doing the technique incorrectly included the possibility of stroke or death, bone fracture and irritation of nerve roots, the court was told.

Prosecutor Sally Carter said the couple's claim that they did not know the technique was restricted to registered osteopaths was ridiculous. "They were working in a community where there were others they could have consulted."

Carter said the fact neither was registered meant their practice was entirely unsupervised.

Defence lawyer Julian Hannam said the couple were productive, useful people who actually helped people. "It is their sincere hope they can help people as healers."

Hannam said the couple did not set out to deceive their patients.

Judge Allan Roberts said Joanne Pittwood's display of an outdated certificate was a tacit encouragement to patients to accept she was qualified.

Roberts told Brendan Pittwood he had coat-tailed on his wife's mischief. "No current qualifications disclosed, yet practise you did, in a field where you were unqualified. Unsupervised and unregulated, you both created risks for patients lulled into believing you could administer the appropriate treatment."

Roberts said the offending occurred over a deliberate and sustained period.

Statements showed most patients felt betrayed and although only one experienced physical issues, most said they would not have sought treatment from the Pittwoods if they knew they were not registered.

The Ministry of Health said spinal manipulation carried a risk that was minimised through practitioners being professionally registered, having appropriate training and being involved in continuing education.

Ad Feedback

- Taranaki Daily News

Special offers
Opinion poll

Should fluoride in water be the responsibility of central government?

Yes

No

Vote Result

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content