30 Aug 2016
ACAT has confirmed the Medical Board's decision to take immediate action on the registration of Dr Mohamed Helmy.
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal (ACAT) has confirmed the Medical Board of Australia’s (the Board) decision to take immediate action on the registration of Dr Mohamed Helmy, but has varied the conditions imposed on the practitioner.
ACAT heard the matter on 5 July 2016 and decided to impose new conditions on 19 August 2016. The conditions require Dr Helmy to practise in the presence of a chaperone at all times when in contact with any female patients, or patients under the age of 18 years attending with a female guardian or carer.
The Board had received a notification on 11 March 2016 from a female patient of Dr Helmy’s, alleging he had acted improperly during a medical consultation; this included allegations that he had been ‘grooming’ her for a period of three years and was physically inappropriate with her during a consultation. In taking immediate action the Board took into account the two earlier complaints against the practitioner.
The Board decided to take immediate action, pending investigation of the notification. The immediate action was to impose conditions which prohibited the practitioner from treating or having non-clinical communication with female patients or patients under the age of 18 years.
Dr Helmy appealed the decision of the Board to take this immediate action.
When considering the appeal, the tribunal considered this complaint along with two earlier complaints made to the Australia Federal Police. These complaints also related to Dr Helmy’s interactions with female patients. The tribunal rejected the practitioner’s submissions that these previous complaints should not be considered or that there was not enough evidence to form a reasonable belief that the practitioner posed a serious risk to the public.
The tribunal stated its concern that the practitioner is either unable to identify appropriate boundaries, or incapable of managing the challenges to professional boundaries that can arise in general practice. Dr Helmy had admitted to conduct relating to two of the three complaints which the Board claimed breached professional boundaries and demonstrated a lack of insight.
Taking this into account, the tribunal found that the practitioner poses a serious risk to the public in that he may act inappropriately physically or sexually with female patients and that it was necessary to take immediate action to protect public safety.
The tribunal considered the revised immediate action conditions imposed to be sufficient to protect against any risk to public safety in the interim whilst the investigation into the notification is finalised. After investigating the notification, the Board will decide whether it is necessary to take further disciplinary action or not. The conditions will be monitored to ensure compliance during the investigation into the allegations.
The ACAT decision is published on the tribunal website.