A snapshot of registered health practitioner misconduct in Victoria: November 2022 – January 2023

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

By Stuart Eustice, Partner & Holly White, Lawyer

Medical Board of Australia v Rattray-Wood No. 2 [2022] VCAT 1234 (24 October 2022)

A doctor was reprimanded, suspended from practice for three months and had conditions imposed on his registration requiring education after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct by requesting a hospital to provide the medical records of a person who was not his patient and signing the request form himself. The doctor had been motivated by a desire to protect a vulnerable person from suspected elder abuse and had been affected by medications at the time.

Medical Board of Australia v Slater [2022] VCAT 1238 (26 October 2022)

A GP was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration and prohibited from providing any health service for 10 years after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct by inadequately managing and inappropriately prescribing medications to 63 patients, failing to maintain adequate medical records, breaching confidentiality, providing medical care to three patients with whom he was engaged in a personal relationship, breaching professional boundaries by engaging in an inappropriate personal relationship with two patients and sexualised conduct with one patient, falsifying medical certificates, practising with a health impairment, providing false or misleading information to the Board during investigation and breaching conditions imposed on his registration. The GP admitted to all allegations, and further admitted to working while consuming large amounts of alcohol and methamphetamine. He had purchased illicit drugs from a patient and provided illicit drugs to another. The doctor’s actions occurred over a 16-year period after he had already been found guilty for 260 charges of breaching drugs, poisons and controlled substances legislation and subject to disciplinary proceedings resulting in having his registration cancelled with a one-year disqualification period. In December 2017, the GP gave an undertaking not to practice and failed to renew his registration in 2021.

Pharmacy Board of Australia v VGV [2022] VCAT 1323 (22 November 2022)

A pharmacist was reprimanded and had his registration cancelled with a three-year disqualification period after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct after pleading guilty to 33 criminal offences relating to his theft and use of two prescription pads to impersonate a medical practitioner to obtain opioids, and a series of driving offences (driving while unlicenced and under the influence of MDMA). He failed to notify the Board of the charges and made false declarations as to his criminal history when renewing his registration. The pharmacist had mental health conditions and a significant history of opioid use disorder and the use of illicit substances. The pharmacist’s identity has been suppressed due to a risk of self-harm if their identity was disclosed.

Medical Board of Australia v Suresh [2022] VCAT 1418 (9 December 2022)

A gynaecologist was reprimanded and had his registration suspended for three months with conditions imposed after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The doctor failed to obtain informed consent, provide sufficient information regarding a surgery, used inappropriate language and failed to maintain adequate records.

Dental Board of Australia v BVK [2022] VCAT 1483 (22 December 2022)

A dentist who had not worked since late 2019 was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for two years after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct by fraudulently prescribing diazepam on 11 occasions and providing false/misleading information to the Board, The dentist’s identity has been suppressed after a psychiatrist gave evidence he had been diagnosed with a serious psychiatric condition and was at risk of suicide if his identity was disclosed.

Medical Board of Australia v Conron [2023] VCAT 15 (6 January 2023)

A retired GP was reprimanded after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct after providing long-term self-treatment and treatment to a close family member. There were a further three instances of substandard treatment and two instances of inadequate clinical notes. The GP had served his regional community for 57 years and retired in 2019, shortly before his 81st birthday. The Tribunal used this case to specifically send a message to older medical practitioners and those around them, to thoughtfully and insightfully consider the question of when to retire.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Fear [2023] VCAT 27 (11 January 2023)

A registered nurse working nights in an aged care facility was reprimanded after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct after she falsified a colleague’s signature 121 times at work (sometimes with her colleague’s consent) and failed to appropriately administer medication on one occurrence. The Tribunal noted there were no adverse consequences of the nurse’s behaviour and her good intentions, however the nurse also accepted her conduct was a departure from the expected standard. The nurse had not been registered since May 2018, had retired and was in any event unable to return to practice due to health conditions.

Nursing and Midwifery Board of Australia v Du Maurier [2023] VCAT 26 (11 January 2023)

A registered nurse who had been suspended since January 2020 was reprimanded, had her registration cancelled with a 2-year disqualification period, and is prohibited from providing any health service involving the provision of care to persons in rehabilitation, palliative or residential care facilities (and similar) for two years after the Tribunal found she had engaged in professional misconduct after allegations were proven that she had spat on a dementia resident and used vulgar/inappropriate language and communication in the vicinity of residents and staff at the residential aged facility where she worked. The Tribunal noted there was no evidence of remorse, insight or the taking of responsibility for the public and given her position of leadership, the conduct was clearly the type which undermines the public’s confidence in the nursing profession.

Medical Board of Australia v Conejera [2023] VCAT 60 (19 January 2023)

A GP who had not practised since 2018 was reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for 12 months after the Tribunal found he had engaged in professional misconduct. The doctor had unlawfully possessed and self-administered a Schedule 8 medication, failed to safely store and dispose of medications, prescribed medication to patients 54 times in breach of conditions imposed on her registration by the Board in previous disciplinary proceedings, excessively prescribed a Schedule 4 medication and failed to identify contra-indications when prescribing. The GP had a comprehensive prior disciplinary history including issues of mental health. Although she had not practiced for some years prior to the hearing, the Tribunal considered a period of disqualification appropriate as the GP showed limited insight.

Insurance

Victoria’s Supreme Court of Appeal confirms the Building Act 10-year limitation period runs from the date of the occupancy permit issued in respect of the works, not of the entire project: Lendlease Engineering Pty Ltd v Owners Corporation No 1 PS526704E & Ors [2022] VSCA 105