29 Sep 2016
A general practitioner has been reprimanded, fined $20,000, ordered to pay legal costs and disqualified from reapplying for registration as a medical practitioner for 10 years for professional misconduct.
The decision of the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) follows the Medical Board of Australia’s (the Board) referral of Dr Robert Wolman to the tribunal on 10 December 2014.
In May 2013, the Board received a notification alleging Dr Wolman had engaged in inappropriate sexual contact, and had an inappropriate sexual relationship, with a female patient between January 1998 and September 2012. The Board took immediate action under section 156(1)(a) of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law as in force in each state and territory (the National Law), and on 16 May 2013 accepted an undertaking from Dr Wolman that he would not consult with, or treat, any female patients without an adult female chaperone being present.
In October 2013, the Board received a further notification alleging inappropriate sexual contact and an inappropriate sexual relationship with a second patient between October 2004 and July 2009. Another notification followed in August 2014, alleging Dr Wolman engaged in inappropriate sexual contact with a third patient between March 1999 and October 2002, and made sexually suggestive remarks.
During the course of the tribunal proceedings, Dr Wolman surrendered his registration as a medical practitioner and admitted he had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct, including sexual misconduct with all three patients. Dr Wolman also admitted that he had failed to refer two of the patients to either a psychologist or psychiatrist for treatment of their psychiatric conditions, or for advice in relation to their treatment.
Despite being required to maintain a log sheet signed by the chaperone to comply with his undertaking to the Board, the tribunal noted that on two occasions in May 2013, Dr Wolman failed to include the treatment of two female patients on his log sheet, contravening the undertaking.
The parties agreed to settle the matter at a mediation hearing on 10 June 2016. On 22 June 2016, the tribunal ordered that Dr Wolman be reprimanded, fined $20,000, be ordered to pay the Board’s legal costs and be disqualified from reapplying for registration as a medical practitioner for 10 years.
The decision can be found on the tribunal website.