A Palmerston North nurse who wrongly accessed patient records 66 times in a year has lost a bid to have her name kept secret.

Elizabeth Raju was found by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal to have accessed the electronic records of 20 patients 66 times in the year to October 2012.

A decision released today said Ms Raju's activity was malpractice and brought discredit to the nursing profession.

Attempts to defend herself by saying she was given permission to access some of the files and that the access was for training or for medical follow-ups was not accepted.


"The tribunal does not accept the evidence given by Ms Raju, particularly as to her reasons behind, and denial of, access to records," the decision said.

Evidence presented to the tribunal showed Ms Raju ignored warnings that flashed on computer screens before the files were accessed.

"In each case the access by Ms Raju to those records of those patients was inappropriate and when Ms Raju ought to have known she had no authority to do so.

"The tribunal finds that this was unauthorised prying carried out by Ms Raju out of curiosity."

However, he access was not believed to be malicious and she had expressed remorse at her actions.

Ms Raju was dismissed from the MidCentral District Health Board the access was discovered, so was not given a further suspension.

"After dismissal from the MDHB she was unable to find work in New Zealand and for a period, while her husband was working as a dairy processor on a casual basis, they found it very hard financially.

"In early 2015 she and her family moved back to India where they still live."


Due to her financial circumstances, and that she travelled back to New Zealand for the hearing, she was not given a fine.

However, she was ordered to pay $26,400 towards the costs and expenses of the trial.

If she begins nursing again, she must undertake further training on privacy, confidentiality, rules and ethics.

Her attempts to keep her name secret were declined.