14 Jan 2020
The ACT Civil and Administrative Tribunal has found it necessary to take immediate action to impose gender-based restrictions on a general practitioner from Canberra and restrict him to practising at approved locations.
In May 2019 the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) took immediate action in the form of imposing conditions on Dr Al-Naser’s registration, after the Board considered two notifications about Dr Al-Naser’s conduct that raised the risk he had engaged in multiple boundary violations with a patient during his treatment of her over several years.
The patient, known as Patient AC, made a series of allegations about Dr Al-Naser’s conduct in consultations from 2 April 2012 to 7 March 2019. The allegations include that Dr Al-Naser kissed Patient AC in a consultation approximately 7 years ago, discussed his personal life including sexual problems with her, and repeatedly commented on Patient AC’s clothing and also commented on whether she was sexually active.
Patient AC and her treating psychologist lodged separate notifications about Dr Al-Naser’s conduct, which led to the Board’s decision in May 2019 to take immediate action to impose conditions that he not consult with female patients (gender-based restriction) and only practise at an approved location (Conder Surgery).
Dr Al-Naser appealed against the Board’s decision to take immediate action. On 30 October 2019 the tribunal considered the appeal.
The tribunal formed a reasonable belief that Dr Al-Naser poses a serious risk to persons and that it is necessary to take immediate action to protect public health and safety. The tribunal considered that there is objective evidence of Dr Al-Naser’s alleged boundary violations with Patient AC in various consultations over an extended period. The tribunal decided to confirm the same conditions imposed by the Board when it took immediate action with one exception. The tribunal confirmed the conditions that Dr Al-Naser not treat female patients and only practice at approved locations. The tribunal approved Belconnen Medical Centre as an approved practice location (additional to Conder Surgery), subject to Julie Al-Naser (Dr Al-Naser’s daughter) only working when the practice manager is working, and under the practice manager’s supervision.
The investigation of the notification is ongoing.
The findings are published on the Austlii website.