Tribunal cancels registration, orders medical practitioner to pay costs

27 Apr 2017

On 24 April 2014, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) received a notification alleging that Dr Gregory Duck, a medical practitioner, had bought lingerie for a patient, taken photographs of her while she was wearing the lingerie and inappropriately prescribed the patient medication. 

On 5 May 2014, 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), by suspending the practitioner’s registration and decided to investigate him under section 160(1) of the National Law.

On 20 January 2015, the Board referred the matter to the State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) pursuant to section 193(1)(a)(i) of the National Law because it reasonably believed that Dr Duck had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct.

Late in the course of proceedings, Dr Duck admitted that he had behaved in a way that constituted professional misconduct, in that he, amongst other things:

  • wrote prescriptions in the patient’s absence, paid for and collected the prescribed medication for the patient, stored the drugs in a locked drawer in his office, and dispensed the drugs to the patient
  • purchased clothing including lingerie for the patient and took photographs of the patient wearing the clothes and lingerie
  • invited the patient to dinner and paid for meals at various restaurants during the treating period
  • treated the patient for an overdose in a hotel room
  • treated the patient at his residential address instead of his medical practice, and
  • agreed to assist the patient with a detoxification program in a hotel room, attended the hotel room alone and brought medication with him.

On 14 February 2017, the Tribunal found that Dr Duck had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct, in that he, amongst other things:

  • failed to maintain professional boundaries with the patient practice in accordance with the Code of Conduct by taking photographs of her in lingerie and clothing that he had purchased for her
  • prescribed an amount of Xanax to the Patient that was not appropriate in the circumstances
  • demonstrated poor medical practice on a number of occasions, and
  • inappropriately planned to undertake a detoxification in a hotel room.

The Tribunal ordered that:

  • Dr Duck’s registration as a medical practitioner be cancelled
  • Dr Duck be disqualified from apply for registration as a medical practitioner for a period of two years from the date of this order, and
  • Dr Duck pay the Board’s costs of the proceedings to be assessed by the State Administrative Tribunal Scale.

The decision has been published on the State Administrative Tribunal website.

Page reviewed 27/04/2017