Psychologist Zepinic resigns from position at UK school; exposed yet again for misrepresenting credentials abroad

October 7, 2010


On March 1, 2010, psychologist Vitomir Zepinic resigned from his position as senior lecturer in psychiatry in the Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry at Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry after school authorities confronted him about his July 2008 criminal conviction in Australia of six counts of holding himself out to be a medical doctor. He had been at the school for five months when the conviction was exposed. 

Zepinic left his native Yugoslavia in the mid-1990s for Australia, where he first registered as a psychologist in 1994.  In May 1998, he applied to the Australian Medical Council (AMC) for assessment of his specialist qualifications in psychiatry.  The AMC required fulfill a period of supervised clinical practice before being eligible to sit for his examination as a psychiatrist. 

In February 2000, Zepinic filed an application with the Queensland Medical Board for a conditional medical registration, which would allow him to fill a training position in psychiatry.  He applied for and was granted a renewal of his conditional registration in May 2001 to continue specialist training as “Senior Medical Officer – Psychiatry.”  However, in March 2001, the AMC advised the medical Board that Zepinic was not entitled to advanced standing in medicine/psychiatry as his post-graduate training was in the non-medical subject of psychotherapy.  The reason for the reassessment of Zepinic’s qualification was acquisition of information from the institution in Yugoslavia from which Zepinic had graduated which had not heretofore been available due to the conflicts in Yugoslavia at the time.  The Queensland Medical Board cancelled his registration on May 14 2002 noting that Zepinic did not have a “valid registrable undergraduate qualification in medicine.” 

Zepinic continued to misrepresent his credentials (which resulted in his 2008 criminal conviction and subsequent five-year practice ban imposed by the Psychologist’s Tribunal of New South Wales), to gain employment in the UK.  The Australian ban on his practice of psychology was upheld on appeal on August 12, 2010.  He can reapply for licensure in August 2015. 

Source: Appeal from Board Decision Under Section 17 and Inquiry Under Section 109, Psychologist Act 2001, in the Matter of Vitomir Zepinic, Matter Number PST 005/2008, PS0030713, Zepinic v. Psychologists Registration Board of New South Wales [2010] NSWPST 6 and Kate McClymont, “Fake doctor conned his way into a job at top medical school,” Sydney Morning Herald, 27 Sept. 2010.


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