20 Nov 2019
A tribunal has found a general practitioner engaged in professional misconduct in relation to inadequate patient management and inappropriate prescribing of highly addictive opiate medication.
In April 2019, the State Administrative Tribunal of Western Australia (the tribunal) reprimanded Dr Aminah Simone Altaf, a specialist general practitioner, imposed auditing and mentoring conditions on her registration and required her to pay $10,000 towards the legal costs of the Medical Board of Australia (the Board).
The tribunal’s decision relates to Dr Altaf’s care of a patient who had a history of chronic pain and opiate dependency. Between 15 February 2016 to 4 April 2016, Dr Altaf prescribed Schedule 8 drugs when she was not authorised to do so. She also prescribed unacceptably high doses of Oxycodone and Fentanyl despite receiving advice not to do this from a patient’s pain management specialist and warnings from the Health Department about the patient’s drug seeking behaviour.
Dr Altaf agreed that she had failed to maintain adequate medical records for the same patient and had failed to report to the Department of Health and to notify AHPRA when a pharmacist dispensed Schedule 8 medications to the patient without a prescription or verbal authority. In fact, Dr Altaf had issued prescriptions for the medication that had been dispensed without authorisation.
In summary, the tribunal found Dr Altaf:
When making its decision, the tribunal took into consideration Dr Altaf’s cooperation with the Board’s investigation, the fact that she felt pressured by the situation in which she found herself and that since the investigation into her conduct, the practitioner has already implemented changes to the way she practices.
The full decision is published on the tribunal website.