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Med 14/299PChargeOn 29 April 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered a charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Temalesi McCaig, a medical practitioner of Auckland (the Doctor). The charge alleged that the Doctor forged and/or falsified documents provided to the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) for the purpose of gaining general registration.FindingThe Tribunal found the charge established and agreed that it required disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal accepted that the Doctor had made a deliberate attempt to mislead the MCNZ into believing she had completed the intern requirements to support her application for general registration. PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended her from practice for a period of 1 month and imposed a $2,000 fine. The Tribunal ordered that on resumption of practice for a period of 3 years, the Doctor advise her current and future employers of the Tribunal s findings and penalty in this case, and within 12 months to attend an ethics course approved by the MCNZ. The Tribunal ordered costs be paid by the Doctor in the sum of $15,000 as a contribution to the costs of the Tribunal and the PCC. The Tribunal also directed publication of its decision and a summary. The Doctor appealed the penalty imposed in regard to the period of suspension, the fine and the imposition of costs to the High Court on 04 December 2015. The High Court partially upheld the appeal noting that the suspension will be regarded as served given the period the Doctor was out of work as a medical practitioner. The censure, and the $2,000 fine remain, but the contribution to the costs was reduced to $5,940. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=446Med15/308PChargeOn 5 May 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered charges laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Daniel Quistorff (the Doctor), medical practitioner of Auckland. The first charge alleged that the Doctor was convicted for making false documents by issuing false medical certificates to students. The second charge alleged that the Doctor issued two referral letters while not holding a current practising certificate.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts. The Tribunal was satisfied that the conviction charge was established and that the offence reflected adversely on the Doctor s professional obligation to act ethically, honestly and lawfully. The Tribunal found the second charge amounted to professional misconduct, and that both charges required disciplinary sanction. PenaltyWhen considering penalty, the Tribunal noted the Doctor s voluntary suspension from practice since December 2011, and the very real penalty he has already paid before the Court, financially, his prolonged suspension awaiting trial, and the distress he suffered as a result of the publicity his Court case attracted. The Tribunal censured the Doctor and imposed conditions on resumption of his practice and ordered that he pay a contribution of costs of $10,283 to the Tribunal and the PCC. The Tribunal also directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=452Med 15/316D ChargeOn 7 July 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Director of Proceedings against Dr Vijay Harypursat, medical practitioner of Whangarei (the Doctor). The charge alleged that the Doctor failed to set and/or maintain appropriate professional boundaries with his 22-year-old patient with a history of serious mental health issues.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts, and the Tribunal noted it had little difficulty in finding the charge established against the Doctor and disciplinary sanction was warranted. The Tribunal noted that consideration of the seriousness of any given case necessitates consideration of far more than the type of relationship which eventuates. It involves considerations such as the extent to which the practitioner has subjugated his or her patient s interests to his or her own; the magnitude of the power imbalance in the case; the doctor s knowledge of these things; the scope of the breach of trust involved; the nature of the doctor s behaviour and in particular the extent to which he or she has manipulated or exploited the patient; the inherent dangers for the patient in the relationship; and the impact of the practitioner s misconduct for the patient.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended his registration for a period of 9 months. Conditions were imposed on the Doctor on resumption of practice and he was ordered to pay 40% of costs of the hearing. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=466Med15/315PChargeOn 14 and 15 September 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Ashley Hodgson, Medical Practitioner of Tauranga (the Doctor). The charge relates to a conviction in the District Court in 2014 of 5 charges of dishonestly using a document with intent to obtain prescription medicines the Doctor was not entitled to, and that the conviction reflects adversely on the Doctor s fitness to practise. The charge also alleges that the Doctor wrote prescriptions, obtained and consumed drugs without proper medical oversight, prescribed drugs to a patient in a manner which departed from usual prescribing practices, and that this conduct allegedly amounts to professional misconduct.FindingThe hearing proceeded on an agreed summary of fact basis with the Doctor admitting the convictions and that they reflect adversely on his fitness to practise. The Doctor also admitted the other particulars as set out in the charge and they amount to professional misconduct. The Tribunal was satisfied that all parts of the charge were established and disciplinary sanction was warranted.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor, suspended him from practise for 3 months, and imposed conditions on resumption of practice. The Doctor was ordered to pay a contribution of 15%, or $9,725, towards the cost of the Tribunal and the PCC. An application for permanent name suppression of the Doctor s name was declined. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=465Med15/320PChargeOn 3 and 4 November 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Gregory Thorne, Medical Practitioner of Hamilton (the Doctor). The charge contained 14 particulars which fell into four categories of alleged offending: inappropriate prescribing of controlled drugs; failing to record prescriptions for drugs, including controlled drugs; inappropriately issuing medical certificates; and making false entries in medical records and/or medical certificates.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an admission of charge by the Doctor. With the exception of particular 9 (obtaining excessive amounts of pethadine), the Tribunal found all other particulars of the charge established and was satisfied that disciplinary sanction was required. The Tribunal noted that it is a serious abuse of the power and privilege that doctors are given to write prescriptions if they are not for the proper care of patients.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended him from practice for 6 months; conditions were imposed on resumption of practise for 3 years. The Doctor was ordered to pay 35% of the total costs of the PCC and the Tribunal, a total of $43,096. The Tribunal directed publication of the decision and a summary. The Tribunal s full decision can be viewed on its website: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=470Med15/310PChargeOn 18 June 2015, the Tribunal considered two charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Y (the Doctor). The first charge alleged the Doctor was guilty of professional misconduct as she wrote prescriptions for the supply of medicines and controlled drugs not for medical treatment of her patients, but to obtain drugs of dependency for her own use and she consumed some of those drugs without proper medical oversight. The second charge alleged the Doctor was guilty of a conviction which reflected adversely on her fitness to practise. She was convicted of an offence of driving with excess breath alcohol (906 micrograms per litre) having previously been convicted of the same offence.FindingThe charges were admitted by the Doctor and the Tribunal found both charges were established.PenaltyThe Tribunal found the charges were such that a suspension of 12 months was warranted. However, having regard to a period when the Doctor had not been practising from her own choice and receiving therapy it was treated that 9 months of that period had been met, leaving a net period of suspension of 3 months which operated from the date for hearing until 17 September 2015. Various conditions were imposed on resumption of practice by the Doctor relating to: random breath testing and monthly blood and urine tests for 3 years monthly clinical supervision for 3 years prohibiting the prescription or supply of all controlled drugs for 2 years remaining abstinent from alcohol and non-prescription drugs of addiction for 3 years with the recommendation that this condition continue indefinitely engaging in an addiction support network for 3 years with the recommendation that this condition continue indefinitely the Doctor not work in sole practice as a medical practitioner for 3 years registration with and maintenance of a regular level of contact with a general practitioner for 3 years, and giving immediate advice to future employers of the Tribunal decision and orders. The Doctor was ordered to pay a contribution of $17,250.00 to the costs of the hearing. There was an order for permanent non-publication of the name and identifying details of the Doctor. The Tribunal further ordered publication of the decision in the New Zealand Medical Journal and the HPDT website. The full decision can be found on the Tribunals website: http://hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=456Med15/317PChargeOn 7 to 10 December 2015, the Tribunal considered three charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Christopher John Heron (the Doctor). There were three Charges which, in summary, were: That the Doctor was engaged in a number of acts in relation to the 15-year-old complainant which were likely to bring discredit to the medical profession and therefore were misconduct under section 100(1)(b) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCA Act). That the Doctor had twice prescribed for the complainant oral contraceptives in circumstances amounting to malpractice or negligence. That the Doctor had on six occasions, including three involving the complainant, acted as a medical practitioner in writing prescriptions when he did not have a current practising certificate. The Doctor admitted charges 2 and 3 but defended the first charge in regard to engaging in a number of acts in relation to the 15-year-old complainant.FindingThe Tribunal found Charge 1 to be made out but that not all the particulars of that charge of themselves, warranted disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal noted that to the extent that the particulars of Charge 1 are found to be made out, the behaviour is significantly inappropriate on the part of the Doctor and is likely to bring discredit to the medical profession. While at no time was the Doctor officially the complainant s medical practitioner he was known to be a doctor and was trusted as such. The medical profession must maintain its standards and the public require protection. Accordingly the Tribunal found that the particulars of Charge 1 taken cumulatively, were deserving of disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal found Charge 2 to be established as misconduct, warranting disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal found Charge 3 to breach the provision of the HPCA Act and again, warranted disciplinary sanction.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor; ordered a fine of $5,000 in respect of Charge 2; and ordered that the Doctor contribute the sum of $30,000 towards the costs of the PCC and the Tribunal. Had the Doctor been in practice, the Tribunal would have suspended him for a period of 12 months, but because there had been a period of time since the Doctor last practised, which would necessitate reassessment by the Medical Council of New Zealand, and because the evidence indicated the Doctor was unlikely to practice again, no order was made. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=467

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Med 14/299PChargeOn 29 April 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered a charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Temalesi McCaig, a medical practitioner of Auckland (the Doctor). The charge alleged that the Doctor forged and/or falsified documents provided to the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) for the purpose of gaining general registration.FindingThe Tribunal found the charge established and agreed that it required disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal accepted that the Doctor had made a deliberate attempt to mislead the MCNZ into believing she had completed the intern requirements to support her application for general registration. PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended her from practice for a period of 1 month and imposed a $2,000 fine. The Tribunal ordered that on resumption of practice for a period of 3 years, the Doctor advise her current and future employers of the Tribunal s findings and penalty in this case, and within 12 months to attend an ethics course approved by the MCNZ. The Tribunal ordered costs be paid by the Doctor in the sum of $15,000 as a contribution to the costs of the Tribunal and the PCC. The Tribunal also directed publication of its decision and a summary. The Doctor appealed the penalty imposed in regard to the period of suspension, the fine and the imposition of costs to the High Court on 04 December 2015. The High Court partially upheld the appeal noting that the suspension will be regarded as served given the period the Doctor was out of work as a medical practitioner. The censure, and the $2,000 fine remain, but the contribution to the costs was reduced to $5,940. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=446Med15/308PChargeOn 5 May 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered charges laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Daniel Quistorff (the Doctor), medical practitioner of Auckland. The first charge alleged that the Doctor was convicted for making false documents by issuing false medical certificates to students. The second charge alleged that the Doctor issued two referral letters while not holding a current practising certificate.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts. The Tribunal was satisfied that the conviction charge was established and that the offence reflected adversely on the Doctor s professional obligation to act ethically, honestly and lawfully. The Tribunal found the second charge amounted to professional misconduct, and that both charges required disciplinary sanction. PenaltyWhen considering penalty, the Tribunal noted the Doctor s voluntary suspension from practice since December 2011, and the very real penalty he has already paid before the Court, financially, his prolonged suspension awaiting trial, and the distress he suffered as a result of the publicity his Court case attracted. The Tribunal censured the Doctor and imposed conditions on resumption of his practice and ordered that he pay a contribution of costs of $10,283 to the Tribunal and the PCC. The Tribunal also directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=452Med 15/316D ChargeOn 7 July 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Director of Proceedings against Dr Vijay Harypursat, medical practitioner of Whangarei (the Doctor). The charge alleged that the Doctor failed to set and/or maintain appropriate professional boundaries with his 22-year-old patient with a history of serious mental health issues.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts, and the Tribunal noted it had little difficulty in finding the charge established against the Doctor and disciplinary sanction was warranted. The Tribunal noted that consideration of the seriousness of any given case necessitates consideration of far more than the type of relationship which eventuates. It involves considerations such as the extent to which the practitioner has subjugated his or her patient s interests to his or her own; the magnitude of the power imbalance in the case; the doctor s knowledge of these things; the scope of the breach of trust involved; the nature of the doctor s behaviour and in particular the extent to which he or she has manipulated or exploited the patient; the inherent dangers for the patient in the relationship; and the impact of the practitioner s misconduct for the patient.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended his registration for a period of 9 months. Conditions were imposed on the Doctor on resumption of practice and he was ordered to pay 40% of costs of the hearing. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=466Med15/315PChargeOn 14 and 15 September 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Ashley Hodgson, Medical Practitioner of Tauranga (the Doctor). The charge relates to a conviction in the District Court in 2014 of 5 charges of dishonestly using a document with intent to obtain prescription medicines the Doctor was not entitled to, and that the conviction reflects adversely on the Doctor s fitness to practise. The charge also alleges that the Doctor wrote prescriptions, obtained and consumed drugs without proper medical oversight, prescribed drugs to a patient in a manner which departed from usual prescribing practices, and that this conduct allegedly amounts to professional misconduct.FindingThe hearing proceeded on an agreed summary of fact basis with the Doctor admitting the convictions and that they reflect adversely on his fitness to practise. The Doctor also admitted the other particulars as set out in the charge and they amount to professional misconduct. The Tribunal was satisfied that all parts of the charge were established and disciplinary sanction was warranted.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor, suspended him from practise for 3 months, and imposed conditions on resumption of practice. The Doctor was ordered to pay a contribution of 15%, or $9,725, towards the cost of the Tribunal and the PCC. An application for permanent name suppression of the Doctor s name was declined. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=465Med15/320PChargeOn 3 and 4 November 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Gregory Thorne, Medical Practitioner of Hamilton (the Doctor). The charge contained 14 particulars which fell into four categories of alleged offending: inappropriate prescribing of controlled drugs; failing to record prescriptions for drugs, including controlled drugs; inappropriately issuing medical certificates; and making false entries in medical records and/or medical certificates.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an admission of charge by the Doctor. With the exception of particular 9 (obtaining excessive amounts of pethadine), the Tribunal found all other particulars of the charge established and was satisfied that disciplinary sanction was required. The Tribunal noted that it is a serious abuse of the power and privilege that doctors are given to write prescriptions if they are not for the proper care of patients.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended him from practice for 6 months; conditions were imposed on resumption of practise for 3 years. The Doctor was ordered to pay 35% of the total costs of the PCC and the Tribunal, a total of $43,096. The Tribunal directed publication of the decision and a summary. The Tribunal s full decision can be viewed on its website: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=470Med15/310PChargeOn 18 June 2015, the Tribunal considered two charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Y (the Doctor). The first charge alleged the Doctor was guilty of professional misconduct as she wrote prescriptions for the supply of medicines and controlled drugs not for medical treatment of her patients, but to obtain drugs of dependency for her own use and she consumed some of those drugs without proper medical oversight. The second charge alleged the Doctor was guilty of a conviction which reflected adversely on her fitness to practise. She was convicted of an offence of driving with excess breath alcohol (906 micrograms per litre) having previously been convicted of the same offence.FindingThe charges were admitted by the Doctor and the Tribunal found both charges were established.PenaltyThe Tribunal found the charges were such that a suspension of 12 months was warranted. However, having regard to a period when the Doctor had not been practising from her own choice and receiving therapy it was treated that 9 months of that period had been met, leaving a net period of suspension of 3 months which operated from the date for hearing until 17 September 2015. Various conditions were imposed on resumption of practice by the Doctor relating to: random breath testing and monthly blood and urine tests for 3 years monthly clinical supervision for 3 years prohibiting the prescription or supply of all controlled drugs for 2 years remaining abstinent from alcohol and non-prescription drugs of addiction for 3 years with the recommendation that this condition continue indefinitely engaging in an addiction support network for 3 years with the recommendation that this condition continue indefinitely the Doctor not work in sole practice as a medical practitioner for 3 years registration with and maintenance of a regular level of contact with a general practitioner for 3 years, and giving immediate advice to future employers of the Tribunal decision and orders. The Doctor was ordered to pay a contribution of $17,250.00 to the costs of the hearing. There was an order for permanent non-publication of the name and identifying details of the Doctor. The Tribunal further ordered publication of the decision in the New Zealand Medical Journal and the HPDT website. The full decision can be found on the Tribunals website: http://hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=456Med15/317PChargeOn 7 to 10 December 2015, the Tribunal considered three charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Christopher John Heron (the Doctor). There were three Charges which, in summary, were: That the Doctor was engaged in a number of acts in relation to the 15-year-old complainant which were likely to bring discredit to the medical profession and therefore were misconduct under section 100(1)(b) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCA Act). That the Doctor had twice prescribed for the complainant oral contraceptives in circumstances amounting to malpractice or negligence. That the Doctor had on six occasions, including three involving the complainant, acted as a medical practitioner in writing prescriptions when he did not have a current practising certificate. The Doctor admitted charges 2 and 3 but defended the first charge in regard to engaging in a number of acts in relation to the 15-year-old complainant.FindingThe Tribunal found Charge 1 to be made out but that not all the particulars of that charge of themselves, warranted disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal noted that to the extent that the particulars of Charge 1 are found to be made out, the behaviour is significantly inappropriate on the part of the Doctor and is likely to bring discredit to the medical profession. While at no time was the Doctor officially the complainant s medical practitioner he was known to be a doctor and was trusted as such. The medical profession must maintain its standards and the public require protection. Accordingly the Tribunal found that the particulars of Charge 1 taken cumulatively, were deserving of disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal found Charge 2 to be established as misconduct, warranting disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal found Charge 3 to breach the provision of the HPCA Act and again, warranted disciplinary sanction.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor; ordered a fine of $5,000 in respect of Charge 2; and ordered that the Doctor contribute the sum of $30,000 towards the costs of the PCC and the Tribunal. Had the Doctor been in practice, the Tribunal would have suspended him for a period of 12 months, but because there had been a period of time since the Doctor last practised, which would necessitate reassessment by the Medical Council of New Zealand, and because the evidence indicated the Doctor was unlikely to practice again, no order was made. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=467

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

For the PDF of this article,
contact nzmj@nzma.org.nz

View Article PDF

Med 14/299PChargeOn 29 April 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered a charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Temalesi McCaig, a medical practitioner of Auckland (the Doctor). The charge alleged that the Doctor forged and/or falsified documents provided to the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) for the purpose of gaining general registration.FindingThe Tribunal found the charge established and agreed that it required disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal accepted that the Doctor had made a deliberate attempt to mislead the MCNZ into believing she had completed the intern requirements to support her application for general registration. PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended her from practice for a period of 1 month and imposed a $2,000 fine. The Tribunal ordered that on resumption of practice for a period of 3 years, the Doctor advise her current and future employers of the Tribunal s findings and penalty in this case, and within 12 months to attend an ethics course approved by the MCNZ. The Tribunal ordered costs be paid by the Doctor in the sum of $15,000 as a contribution to the costs of the Tribunal and the PCC. The Tribunal also directed publication of its decision and a summary. The Doctor appealed the penalty imposed in regard to the period of suspension, the fine and the imposition of costs to the High Court on 04 December 2015. The High Court partially upheld the appeal noting that the suspension will be regarded as served given the period the Doctor was out of work as a medical practitioner. The censure, and the $2,000 fine remain, but the contribution to the costs was reduced to $5,940. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?tabid=446Med15/308PChargeOn 5 May 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered charges laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Daniel Quistorff (the Doctor), medical practitioner of Auckland. The first charge alleged that the Doctor was convicted for making false documents by issuing false medical certificates to students. The second charge alleged that the Doctor issued two referral letters while not holding a current practising certificate.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts. The Tribunal was satisfied that the conviction charge was established and that the offence reflected adversely on the Doctor s professional obligation to act ethically, honestly and lawfully. The Tribunal found the second charge amounted to professional misconduct, and that both charges required disciplinary sanction. PenaltyWhen considering penalty, the Tribunal noted the Doctor s voluntary suspension from practice since December 2011, and the very real penalty he has already paid before the Court, financially, his prolonged suspension awaiting trial, and the distress he suffered as a result of the publicity his Court case attracted. The Tribunal censured the Doctor and imposed conditions on resumption of his practice and ordered that he pay a contribution of costs of $10,283 to the Tribunal and the PCC. The Tribunal also directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=452Med 15/316D ChargeOn 7 July 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Director of Proceedings against Dr Vijay Harypursat, medical practitioner of Whangarei (the Doctor). The charge alleged that the Doctor failed to set and/or maintain appropriate professional boundaries with his 22-year-old patient with a history of serious mental health issues.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an agreed summary of facts, and the Tribunal noted it had little difficulty in finding the charge established against the Doctor and disciplinary sanction was warranted. The Tribunal noted that consideration of the seriousness of any given case necessitates consideration of far more than the type of relationship which eventuates. It involves considerations such as the extent to which the practitioner has subjugated his or her patient s interests to his or her own; the magnitude of the power imbalance in the case; the doctor s knowledge of these things; the scope of the breach of trust involved; the nature of the doctor s behaviour and in particular the extent to which he or she has manipulated or exploited the patient; the inherent dangers for the patient in the relationship; and the impact of the practitioner s misconduct for the patient.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended his registration for a period of 9 months. Conditions were imposed on the Doctor on resumption of practice and he was ordered to pay 40% of costs of the hearing. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=466Med15/315PChargeOn 14 and 15 September 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Ashley Hodgson, Medical Practitioner of Tauranga (the Doctor). The charge relates to a conviction in the District Court in 2014 of 5 charges of dishonestly using a document with intent to obtain prescription medicines the Doctor was not entitled to, and that the conviction reflects adversely on the Doctor s fitness to practise. The charge also alleges that the Doctor wrote prescriptions, obtained and consumed drugs without proper medical oversight, prescribed drugs to a patient in a manner which departed from usual prescribing practices, and that this conduct allegedly amounts to professional misconduct.FindingThe hearing proceeded on an agreed summary of fact basis with the Doctor admitting the convictions and that they reflect adversely on his fitness to practise. The Doctor also admitted the other particulars as set out in the charge and they amount to professional misconduct. The Tribunal was satisfied that all parts of the charge were established and disciplinary sanction was warranted.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor, suspended him from practise for 3 months, and imposed conditions on resumption of practice. The Doctor was ordered to pay a contribution of 15%, or $9,725, towards the cost of the Tribunal and the PCC. An application for permanent name suppression of the Doctor s name was declined. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. The full decision of the Tribunal can be viewed at http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=465Med15/320PChargeOn 3 and 4 November 2015, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered the charge laid by the Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Gregory Thorne, Medical Practitioner of Hamilton (the Doctor). The charge contained 14 particulars which fell into four categories of alleged offending: inappropriate prescribing of controlled drugs; failing to record prescriptions for drugs, including controlled drugs; inappropriately issuing medical certificates; and making false entries in medical records and/or medical certificates.FindingThe hearing proceeded by way of an admission of charge by the Doctor. With the exception of particular 9 (obtaining excessive amounts of pethadine), the Tribunal found all other particulars of the charge established and was satisfied that disciplinary sanction was required. The Tribunal noted that it is a serious abuse of the power and privilege that doctors are given to write prescriptions if they are not for the proper care of patients.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor and suspended him from practice for 6 months; conditions were imposed on resumption of practise for 3 years. The Doctor was ordered to pay 35% of the total costs of the PCC and the Tribunal, a total of $43,096. The Tribunal directed publication of the decision and a summary. The Tribunal s full decision can be viewed on its website: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=470Med15/310PChargeOn 18 June 2015, the Tribunal considered two charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Y (the Doctor). The first charge alleged the Doctor was guilty of professional misconduct as she wrote prescriptions for the supply of medicines and controlled drugs not for medical treatment of her patients, but to obtain drugs of dependency for her own use and she consumed some of those drugs without proper medical oversight. The second charge alleged the Doctor was guilty of a conviction which reflected adversely on her fitness to practise. She was convicted of an offence of driving with excess breath alcohol (906 micrograms per litre) having previously been convicted of the same offence.FindingThe charges were admitted by the Doctor and the Tribunal found both charges were established.PenaltyThe Tribunal found the charges were such that a suspension of 12 months was warranted. However, having regard to a period when the Doctor had not been practising from her own choice and receiving therapy it was treated that 9 months of that period had been met, leaving a net period of suspension of 3 months which operated from the date for hearing until 17 September 2015. Various conditions were imposed on resumption of practice by the Doctor relating to: random breath testing and monthly blood and urine tests for 3 years monthly clinical supervision for 3 years prohibiting the prescription or supply of all controlled drugs for 2 years remaining abstinent from alcohol and non-prescription drugs of addiction for 3 years with the recommendation that this condition continue indefinitely engaging in an addiction support network for 3 years with the recommendation that this condition continue indefinitely the Doctor not work in sole practice as a medical practitioner for 3 years registration with and maintenance of a regular level of contact with a general practitioner for 3 years, and giving immediate advice to future employers of the Tribunal decision and orders. The Doctor was ordered to pay a contribution of $17,250.00 to the costs of the hearing. There was an order for permanent non-publication of the name and identifying details of the Doctor. The Tribunal further ordered publication of the decision in the New Zealand Medical Journal and the HPDT website. The full decision can be found on the Tribunals website: http://hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=456Med15/317PChargeOn 7 to 10 December 2015, the Tribunal considered three charges laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr Christopher John Heron (the Doctor). There were three Charges which, in summary, were: That the Doctor was engaged in a number of acts in relation to the 15-year-old complainant which were likely to bring discredit to the medical profession and therefore were misconduct under section 100(1)(b) of the Health Practitioners Competence Assurance Act (HPCA Act). That the Doctor had twice prescribed for the complainant oral contraceptives in circumstances amounting to malpractice or negligence. That the Doctor had on six occasions, including three involving the complainant, acted as a medical practitioner in writing prescriptions when he did not have a current practising certificate. The Doctor admitted charges 2 and 3 but defended the first charge in regard to engaging in a number of acts in relation to the 15-year-old complainant.FindingThe Tribunal found Charge 1 to be made out but that not all the particulars of that charge of themselves, warranted disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal noted that to the extent that the particulars of Charge 1 are found to be made out, the behaviour is significantly inappropriate on the part of the Doctor and is likely to bring discredit to the medical profession. While at no time was the Doctor officially the complainant s medical practitioner he was known to be a doctor and was trusted as such. The medical profession must maintain its standards and the public require protection. Accordingly the Tribunal found that the particulars of Charge 1 taken cumulatively, were deserving of disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal found Charge 2 to be established as misconduct, warranting disciplinary sanction. The Tribunal found Charge 3 to breach the provision of the HPCA Act and again, warranted disciplinary sanction.PenaltyThe Tribunal censured the Doctor; ordered a fine of $5,000 in respect of Charge 2; and ordered that the Doctor contribute the sum of $30,000 towards the costs of the PCC and the Tribunal. Had the Doctor been in practice, the Tribunal would have suspended him for a period of 12 months, but because there had been a period of time since the Doctor last practised, which would necessitate reassessment by the Medical Council of New Zealand, and because the evidence indicated the Doctor was unlikely to practice again, no order was made. The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary. A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://hpdt.org.nz/Default.aspx?Tabid=467

Summary

Abstract

Aim

Method

Results

Conclusion

Author Information

Acknowledgements

Correspondence

Correspondence Email

Competing Interests

Contact diana@nzma.org.nz
for the PDF of this article

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