Practitioner loses registration due to unauthorised drugs

Date: Aug 25, 2018

In May 2018, a practitioner was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Civil and Administrative Tribunal of New South Wales. A hearing took place this month to determine what disciplinary orders should be made due to that finding.

The charges

The medical professional had prescribed drugs for a patient's depression, but the drugs were not authorised to be used for that purpose. He also failed to prescribe any alternative treatments to the patient.

An additional charge was that the practitioner failed to adequately investigate the medical history of his patients.

Because his actions had a potential harmful impact on the health and safety of the public, the Tribunal suspended his medical registration right away when he was found guilty.

The HCCC application

The Health Care Complaints Commission (HCCC) sought an order in August for the practitioner's registration to be cancelled because he was found guilty of the charges. Additionally, the HCCC requested that he remain ineligible to apply for registration for two to three years.

The practitioner was opposed to this sentence and requested that he be allowed to continue to practise medicine but under supervision. He offered an alternative option that his registration remain in suspension for twelve months.

The Tribunal's task was to decide whether the practitioner met the necessary standards to practise medicine in a fit and proper manner.

The Tribunal's decision

During the hearing, the Tribunal was concerned by the fact that the practitioner continued to 'demonstrate little or no insight into his conduct'. He had apparently provided comments to a journalist that at the time of his offences, he hadn't understood the risks of his actions.

The practitioner didn't express any regret for his actions during the hearing, and instead indicated that he had done what he thought was safe and beneficial for the patients. He said that he was part of a clinical trial at the time that was testing ketamine, one of the drugs he prescribed.

In the end, the Tribunal ordered that his registration be cancelled, pursuant to the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (NSW), and that he couldn't apply to obtain it again for two years.

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