15 Nov 2016
A tribunal has confirmed a decision by the Medical Board of Australia to suspend the registration of Dr Wijeneka Liyanage.
On 8 July 2016, the Board decided to take immediate action by suspending the practitioner’s registration after investigations revealed he had falsified patient records. The patient records that had been falsified were relevant to Board investigations.
Immediate action is an interim step which allows the Board to limit or suspend a practitioner’s registration to protect the health and safety of the public, pending further investigation.
On 21 October 2016, following an appeal by Dr Liyanage, the Board’s decision was confirmed by the tribunal, as suspension was deemed ‘the appropriate and necessary course’.
During the hearing, the tribunal found that Dr Liyanage had altered medical records relating to three patients and had knowingly misled AHPRA and the Board in relation to these alterations. The tribunal concluded that his conduct meant he posed a serious risk to patients.
The tribunal noted: ‘That he was prepared, on several different occasions over an extended period, to intentionally lie to AHPRA and the Board – authorities charged with responsibility for regulating in the public interest the conduct and ethics of members of his profession – is an extremely serious matter.’
The tribunal found that the precise extent to which the practitioner may have been untruthful in his dealings with AHPRA and the Board is yet to be determined. However, if his deception had not been uncovered, investigations could have proceeded on the basis that the practitioner’s notes were to be preferred over the patients’ own recollections.
The tribunal rejected the practitioner’s submission that undertakings and/or conditions would provide adequate protection to the public.
The reasons for the decision, which includes information relating to the open notifications against Dr Liyanage, can be found on the Austlii website.