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Med16/358P

Charge

On 13 to 15 March 2017 the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered two charges of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Medical Council of New Zealand against Dr Lynda Marie Emmerson of Whangarei (the Doctor).

Charge 1 alleged that:

  1. Between 1 September 2013 and 23 April 2015, the Doctor prescribed drugs of dependence to family members and a friend/colleague;
  2. The drugs were prescribed without appropriate monitoring or oversight;
  3. The medicines prescribed by the Doctor included Class B and Class C controlled drugs;
  4. The Doctor’s conduct was in breach of her legal and ethical obligations under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977, the Medicines Regulations 1984 and/or the Medical Council’s statements.

Charge 2 alleged that:

1. While registered as a medical practitioner practising as a psychiatric registrar the Doctor engaged in recreational drug use, in particular:

a) Used cannabis on a number of occasions, including in late November or early December 2015; and

b) Between January 2013 and April 2015 the Doctor used methamphetamine on approximately six occasions.

2. In December 2015 the Doctor misled or attempted to mislead the PCC in relation to the full extent of her methamphetamine use in that she stated she has used methamphetamine only once at the end of 2014.

Background

The parties attempted to agree on a statement of facts but were unable to do so. However, the Doctor filed a formal admission which significantly reduced the scope of what was in issue.

The Doctor admitted that she did write the prescriptions as alleged in the first charge. She also admitted the first particular of the second charge in regard to the use of cannabis and methamphetamine but denied the second particular of the charge relating to misleading the PCC about the extent of her methamphetamine use.

Finding

The Tribunal had no difficulty in finding the first charge established in all of its particulars and that the circumstances in which the Doctor prescribed for family members and her colleague contravened Medical Council of New Zealand guidelines as the Doctor acknowledged.

The Tribunal found the first particular of the second charge to be established. The precise number of occasions on which methamphetamine was used was not considered to be especially important. Methamphetamine is a class A and cannabis a class C controlled drug. Possession and use of either is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. Use of either drug during a period when a doctor is practising unquestionably brings the profession into disrepute and is extremely serious.

Finally, the Tribunal concluded the second particular of the second charge to be established.

Penalty

Submissions on penalty from the PCC did not seek an order for deregistration. However, given the seriousness of the conduct established, the Tribunal advised both parties that it was considering the full range of penalties available to it under
s. 101 of the HPCA Act, including an order for cancellation.

Following receipt of further submissions from the parties in light of the Tribunal’s advice, the Tribunal censured the Doctor and cancelled her registration.

The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary.

The Doctor appealed the decision of the Tribunal to the High Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal Emmerson v PCC [2017] NZHC 2847.

A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/ChargeDetails.aspx?file=Med16/358P

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

Med16/358P

Charge

On 13 to 15 March 2017 the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered two charges of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Medical Council of New Zealand against Dr Lynda Marie Emmerson of Whangarei (the Doctor).

Charge 1 alleged that:

  1. Between 1 September 2013 and 23 April 2015, the Doctor prescribed drugs of dependence to family members and a friend/colleague;
  2. The drugs were prescribed without appropriate monitoring or oversight;
  3. The medicines prescribed by the Doctor included Class B and Class C controlled drugs;
  4. The Doctor’s conduct was in breach of her legal and ethical obligations under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977, the Medicines Regulations 1984 and/or the Medical Council’s statements.

Charge 2 alleged that:

1. While registered as a medical practitioner practising as a psychiatric registrar the Doctor engaged in recreational drug use, in particular:

a) Used cannabis on a number of occasions, including in late November or early December 2015; and

b) Between January 2013 and April 2015 the Doctor used methamphetamine on approximately six occasions.

2. In December 2015 the Doctor misled or attempted to mislead the PCC in relation to the full extent of her methamphetamine use in that she stated she has used methamphetamine only once at the end of 2014.

Background

The parties attempted to agree on a statement of facts but were unable to do so. However, the Doctor filed a formal admission which significantly reduced the scope of what was in issue.

The Doctor admitted that she did write the prescriptions as alleged in the first charge. She also admitted the first particular of the second charge in regard to the use of cannabis and methamphetamine but denied the second particular of the charge relating to misleading the PCC about the extent of her methamphetamine use.

Finding

The Tribunal had no difficulty in finding the first charge established in all of its particulars and that the circumstances in which the Doctor prescribed for family members and her colleague contravened Medical Council of New Zealand guidelines as the Doctor acknowledged.

The Tribunal found the first particular of the second charge to be established. The precise number of occasions on which methamphetamine was used was not considered to be especially important. Methamphetamine is a class A and cannabis a class C controlled drug. Possession and use of either is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. Use of either drug during a period when a doctor is practising unquestionably brings the profession into disrepute and is extremely serious.

Finally, the Tribunal concluded the second particular of the second charge to be established.

Penalty

Submissions on penalty from the PCC did not seek an order for deregistration. However, given the seriousness of the conduct established, the Tribunal advised both parties that it was considering the full range of penalties available to it under
s. 101 of the HPCA Act, including an order for cancellation.

Following receipt of further submissions from the parties in light of the Tribunal’s advice, the Tribunal censured the Doctor and cancelled her registration.

The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary.

The Doctor appealed the decision of the Tribunal to the High Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal Emmerson v PCC [2017] NZHC 2847.

A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/ChargeDetails.aspx?file=Med16/358P

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

Med16/358P

Charge

On 13 to 15 March 2017 the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered two charges of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Medical Council of New Zealand against Dr Lynda Marie Emmerson of Whangarei (the Doctor).

Charge 1 alleged that:

  1. Between 1 September 2013 and 23 April 2015, the Doctor prescribed drugs of dependence to family members and a friend/colleague;
  2. The drugs were prescribed without appropriate monitoring or oversight;
  3. The medicines prescribed by the Doctor included Class B and Class C controlled drugs;
  4. The Doctor’s conduct was in breach of her legal and ethical obligations under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977, the Medicines Regulations 1984 and/or the Medical Council’s statements.

Charge 2 alleged that:

1. While registered as a medical practitioner practising as a psychiatric registrar the Doctor engaged in recreational drug use, in particular:

a) Used cannabis on a number of occasions, including in late November or early December 2015; and

b) Between January 2013 and April 2015 the Doctor used methamphetamine on approximately six occasions.

2. In December 2015 the Doctor misled or attempted to mislead the PCC in relation to the full extent of her methamphetamine use in that she stated she has used methamphetamine only once at the end of 2014.

Background

The parties attempted to agree on a statement of facts but were unable to do so. However, the Doctor filed a formal admission which significantly reduced the scope of what was in issue.

The Doctor admitted that she did write the prescriptions as alleged in the first charge. She also admitted the first particular of the second charge in regard to the use of cannabis and methamphetamine but denied the second particular of the charge relating to misleading the PCC about the extent of her methamphetamine use.

Finding

The Tribunal had no difficulty in finding the first charge established in all of its particulars and that the circumstances in which the Doctor prescribed for family members and her colleague contravened Medical Council of New Zealand guidelines as the Doctor acknowledged.

The Tribunal found the first particular of the second charge to be established. The precise number of occasions on which methamphetamine was used was not considered to be especially important. Methamphetamine is a class A and cannabis a class C controlled drug. Possession and use of either is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. Use of either drug during a period when a doctor is practising unquestionably brings the profession into disrepute and is extremely serious.

Finally, the Tribunal concluded the second particular of the second charge to be established.

Penalty

Submissions on penalty from the PCC did not seek an order for deregistration. However, given the seriousness of the conduct established, the Tribunal advised both parties that it was considering the full range of penalties available to it under
s. 101 of the HPCA Act, including an order for cancellation.

Following receipt of further submissions from the parties in light of the Tribunal’s advice, the Tribunal censured the Doctor and cancelled her registration.

The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary.

The Doctor appealed the decision of the Tribunal to the High Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal Emmerson v PCC [2017] NZHC 2847.

A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/ChargeDetails.aspx?file=Med16/358P

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

View Article PDF

Med16/358P

Charge

On 13 to 15 March 2017 the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered two charges of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) appointed by the Medical Council of New Zealand against Dr Lynda Marie Emmerson of Whangarei (the Doctor).

Charge 1 alleged that:

  1. Between 1 September 2013 and 23 April 2015, the Doctor prescribed drugs of dependence to family members and a friend/colleague;
  2. The drugs were prescribed without appropriate monitoring or oversight;
  3. The medicines prescribed by the Doctor included Class B and Class C controlled drugs;
  4. The Doctor’s conduct was in breach of her legal and ethical obligations under the Misuse of Drugs Regulations 1977, the Medicines Regulations 1984 and/or the Medical Council’s statements.

Charge 2 alleged that:

1. While registered as a medical practitioner practising as a psychiatric registrar the Doctor engaged in recreational drug use, in particular:

a) Used cannabis on a number of occasions, including in late November or early December 2015; and

b) Between January 2013 and April 2015 the Doctor used methamphetamine on approximately six occasions.

2. In December 2015 the Doctor misled or attempted to mislead the PCC in relation to the full extent of her methamphetamine use in that she stated she has used methamphetamine only once at the end of 2014.

Background

The parties attempted to agree on a statement of facts but were unable to do so. However, the Doctor filed a formal admission which significantly reduced the scope of what was in issue.

The Doctor admitted that she did write the prescriptions as alleged in the first charge. She also admitted the first particular of the second charge in regard to the use of cannabis and methamphetamine but denied the second particular of the charge relating to misleading the PCC about the extent of her methamphetamine use.

Finding

The Tribunal had no difficulty in finding the first charge established in all of its particulars and that the circumstances in which the Doctor prescribed for family members and her colleague contravened Medical Council of New Zealand guidelines as the Doctor acknowledged.

The Tribunal found the first particular of the second charge to be established. The precise number of occasions on which methamphetamine was used was not considered to be especially important. Methamphetamine is a class A and cannabis a class C controlled drug. Possession and use of either is a criminal offence punishable by imprisonment. Use of either drug during a period when a doctor is practising unquestionably brings the profession into disrepute and is extremely serious.

Finally, the Tribunal concluded the second particular of the second charge to be established.

Penalty

Submissions on penalty from the PCC did not seek an order for deregistration. However, given the seriousness of the conduct established, the Tribunal advised both parties that it was considering the full range of penalties available to it under
s. 101 of the HPCA Act, including an order for cancellation.

Following receipt of further submissions from the parties in light of the Tribunal’s advice, the Tribunal censured the Doctor and cancelled her registration.

The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary.

The Doctor appealed the decision of the Tribunal to the High Court. The High Court dismissed the appeal Emmerson v PCC [2017] NZHC 2847.

A full copy of the decision can be viewed at: http://www.hpdt.org.nz/ChargeDetails.aspx?file=Med16/358P

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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