Medical practitioner reprimanded and disqualified from applying for registration for six months

14 Mar 2019

A tribunal has disqualified a medical practitioner from applying for registration for six months after finding he behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct.

During the course of a consultation in June 2016, Dr Ian Keith Wood, a general practitioner, told a patient (Patient A) that he had another patient (Patient B) who had asked Dr Wood to provide him with firearms and illegal drugs. This information had been obtained by Dr Wood during a consultation with Patient B. Dr Wood also advised Patient A that he was unhappy with Patient B’s conduct and wanted to assess Patient B to see if he was a threat to the public to consider whether Patient B should be placed into custody or involuntarily committed.

Dr Wood then asked Patient A to call Patient B during the consultation and pretend that he had firearms to sell to Patient B. Dr Wood provided Patient A with Patient B’s contact number and Patient A used Dr Wood’s office telephone to call Patient B.

In July 2016, Dr Wood was charged with the following offences:

  • 2 counts of possession of drug paraphernalia in or on which there was a prohibited drug or plant;
  • 1 count of possession of a prohibited drug (methylamphetamine); and
  • 1 count of conspiring with another to commit a simple offence.

On 28 August 2017, Dr Wood was convicted, fined $700 and received spent convictions for the first three charges. He was not convicted of conspiring to commit a simple offence.

Under the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (National Law), a registered health practitioner is required to notify the National Board within seven days if they are charged with an offence that is punishable by 12 months imprisonment or more. Dr Wood failed to advise the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) of any of the charges.

Dr Wood also provided false and misleading information to the Board and the Board-appointed health assessor about his illicit drug use.

On 28 February 2018, the parties agreed to the terms upon which the proceedings could be settled.

The agreement took into consideration that:

  • the charges had already been dealt with by the Magistrates Court;
  • Dr Wood had already suffered personally, professionally and financially;
  • Dr Wood had compassion for his patients in desperate circumstances which caused his lack of judgment in relation to the incident with Patient A and Patient B;
  • Dr Wood’s drug use was not ongoing, and was during a stressful period of his life;
  • Dr Wood had voluntarily submitted himself for urinalysis during the investigation with all tests coming back negative notwithstanding that he tested positive for methamphetamine in hair tests;
  • Dr Wood had voluntarily sought assistance from a psychiatrist to help him manage his mental health; and
  • there was no evidence of a mental impairment or condition, including any substance abuse or dependence, that would or would likely detrimentally effect Dr Wood’s ability to practise.

The State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (tribunal) accepted the statement of agreed facts and found that Dr Wood behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct. In doing so, the Tribunal agreed that Dr Wood had failed to adhere to Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia (March 2014 edition) in that he:

  1. failed to protect Patient B’s privacy and right to confidentiality;
  2. failed to treat information about Patient B as confidential;
  3. failed to maintain professional boundaries with Patient A and Patient B; and
  4. failed to comply with reporting obligations that apply to his practice.

The tribunal reprimanded Dr Wood and disqualified him from applying for registration for a period of six months from 14 September 2020 (Dr Wood had been disqualified from applying for registration until 13 September 2020 in separate tribunal proceedings in 2017). He was also ordered to pay the Board $2,450 in costs.

You can read the full decision on the Western Australian State Administrative Tribunal website.

 
 
Page reviewed 14/03/2019