Council fail to prove practitioner’s registration should remain suspended

Date: May 15, 2019

Medical negligence cases can result in the suspension of a practitioner's registration who has been found guilty of professional misconduct. In these instances, such practitioners often have the chance to submit an appeal to contest the original decision. This was evident in a recent medical negligence case where a practitioner challenged the suspension of his medical registration imposed by delegates of the Medical Council of New South Wales (the Council).

Background of the registration suspension

On October 16, 2018, the Council organised an urgent hearing following concerns relating to the appellant's practise of medicine. These included allegations of inappropriate prescribing practices and poor maintenance of inadequate clinical records. The delegates within the Council felt the practitioner posed a significant risk to public health and safety, and that his behaviour fell below the standard expected of a practitioner in his position. The outcome of the meeting resulted in the suspension of the medical professional's registration.

Further information into allegations

As part of the appeal process, the Civil and Administrative Tribunal had to consider the significance of the accusations submitted against the practitioner.

In regards to the allegations relating to the over-prescription of drugs, the Council tendered a letter from the Director of the Professional Services Review, who stated:

"On review of the practitioner's clinical records, it became apparent that he prescribed very high doses of opioids in combination. In many cases, it was unclear from the records why patients were commenced on medications, or maintained on them."

The appellant denied there were any problems with his prescribing. He stated he had instead taken advice from colleagues and surgeons. In regards to one particular patient, the practitioner explained that his patient had been referred to the drug by a psychiatrist and when he tried to reduce her dose, the patient became panicked.

What did the tribunal decide?

Despite the Council's argument for the continued cancellation of the practitioner's registration, the tribunal felt the allegations had not received enough examination. Therefore, to suspend the appellant on a suspicion alone would result in the community being deprived of medical services by the practitioner, and would result in the termination of his livelihood. As a result, they ordered that the practitioner should be supervised by another medical professional and treat no more than 35 patients in any one day.

If you feel that a medical professional has breached their duty of care, it's important to come forward. Get in touch with the medical negligence lawyers here at Gerard Malouf & Partners to find out how we can help you with a claim for compensation.

Call us now on 1800 004 878 to book a free appointment with one of my compensation experts, or email your enquiry.