02 Jun 2017
The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal) has affirmed a Medical Board of Australia (Board) decision to refuse a medical practitioner’s application to remove conditions on this registration.
The conditions on Dr Doh Ong Hii’s registration have been in place since October 2010 and restrict his practice so that he cannot perform major surgery as a primary surgeon.
The 2010 conditions (alongside interim restrictions in place from 2008 to 2010) mean the practitioner has not practised as a primary surgeon in major surgery for over eight years. At the time of the tribunal hearing Dr Hii was registered as a medical practitioner holding general and specialist (surgical) registration.
In his application for review, Dr Hii asked the tribunal to remove the 2010 conditions and submitted that he did not need to complete the reskilling and retraining program suggested by the Board with the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons (RACS). In doing so, Dr Hii relied on a self-assessment of his own skills and competencies and on references from professional colleagues.
After considering submissions by the practitioner and the Board, the tribunal affirmed the Board’s original decision to refuse the removal of conditions from Dr Hii’s registration. The tribunal considered that they would require independent reassurance that Dr Hii could safely practise before removing the conditions. The tribunal agreed that the Board’s suggested RACS re-skilling and re-entry program was the most appropriate mechanism for this assessment.
The tribunal concluded that an absence from an area of practice such as that of primary surgeon in major surgery for any significant period is likely to require at the very least, an independent assessment of current capability across a range of competencies before returning to practice. Those competencies extend beyond technical surgical skill. Without independent evidence the tribunal did not consider it to be in the interest of patient safety and appropriate under the National Law to remove Dr Hii’s conditions.
The decision is published on the AustLII website.