Medical practitioner reprimanded and suspended from practising

06 Oct 2016

A tribunal has reprimanded and suspended a medical practitioner for inappropriate prescribing and medical management of patients over 12 years.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Frank Charles Fox to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal following an investigation into his professional conduct. Dr Fox faced 115 allegations, spanning 12 years from June 2000 to August 2012 involving the treatment of 19 patients.

In March 2016, Dr Fox admitted all the allegations and the tribunal found that he engaged in professional misconduct, and unprofessional conduct of both a serious and not serious nature.

The allegations related to Dr Fox’s prescribing of Schedule 8 drugs of addiction, management of the patients’ conditions, breaches of the Drugs, Poisons and Controlled Substances Act 1981 (DPCS Act) and regulations and associated criminal convictions. The allegations also related to Dr Fox’s inadequate record keeping for the relevant patients.

One allegation related to a criminal prosecution of Dr Fox by the Drugs and Poisons Regulation Group which is part of the Victorian Department of Health. Dr Fox was convicted on 28 May 2012 of 58 charges under the DPCS Act for offences relating to the prescription of Schedule 8 poisons without required permits. The tribunal found that this allegation amounted to unprofessional conduct under the National Law1.

The tribunal reprimanded Dr Fox, placed conditions on his registration and suspended his registration for 12 months effective from 11 May 2016.

The conditions stipulate that Dr Fox must:

  • undertake further education within six months about the prescription of drugs and poisons
  • undergo an audit of his patient records following his return to practice to monitor record-keeping standards and prescribing practices, and 
  • only prescribe Schedule 8 poisons for his patients in residential aged care facilities and in hospitals and he must not possess, prescribe or administer Schedule 8 poisons in any other circumstances.

Due to the lengthy time span over which the offending occurred, there were three laws that governed the professional conduct. The tribunal made findings under all three laws. The tribunal’s decision is available on the AustLII website.


1The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

 

 
 
Page reviewed 6/10/2016