07 Jan 2020
A medical practitioner has been reprimanded and had conditions placed on her registration for engaging in professional misconduct.
On 25 October 2019, the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) found Dr POS guilty of falsifying medical documents and providing them to her employer.
In 2017, Dr POS informed her employer that she had metastatic breast cancer and was receiving treatment. She was working as a paediatric community fellow in a clinic at the time.
Between August and November 2017, Dr POS provided four forged medical certificates to her employer stating that she was receiving treatment for breast cancer when this was not true. She also provided false information during meetings with staff members. Using this false information, Dr POS claimed sick leave to which she was not entitled, including leave donated by other employees.
In addition to the four forged medical certificates, Dr POS also provided a forged letter to her employer containing false information purporting to be from a foreign health practitioner.
The foreign health practitioner told an employee at the clinic where Dr POS was employed that Dr POS was not a patient of that practitioner, and the practitioner had not written the letter. Dr POS admitted to the conduct when she was directly confronted by her employer in November 2017.
Dr POS’s employer informed the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) of her conduct, and the Board referred Dr POS to the tribunal, alleging professional misconduct.
The Board’s Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia states that doctors must be ethical and trustworthy and must have trust and respect of the community by practising the principles of ethical conduct. The Board submitted that Dr POS breached these principles.
Dr POS’s consulting psychiatrist stated that she was suffering from a major depressive disorder at the time of the conduct and the conduct was part of a misguided attempt to cover up her suicide attempt. Dr POS’s treating psychiatrist provided evidence that she has since responded well to treatment and is in remission.
The tribunal found that Dr POS had engaged in professional misconduct. The tribunal reprimanded Dr POS and placed three conditions on Dr POS’s registration. These conditions relate to education and continuing treatment as well as mentoring.
The full decision is published on the Austlii website.