Former GP disqualified for 10 years for professional misconduct

29 May 2020

A tribunal has disqualified former general practitioner, Mr Ranjit Panda, from applying for registration for 10 years for professional misconduct after he was convicted of unlawful and indecent assault by a court in Western Australia.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Mr Panda to the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (the tribunal) in November 2017 for professional misconduct. It followed Mr Panda’s conviction in the District Court of Western Australia in 2015 of eight offences of unlawful and indecent assault committed against five female patients. Mr Panda was imprisoned for five years with a minimum of three years to be served before being eligible for parole.

The Board referred Mr Panda to the tribunal as a result of the criminal convictions and for breaching conditions imposed on his registration which required him to have a chaperone in attendance while conducting physical examinations of female patients.

The Board imposed a condition on Mr Panda’s registration on 31 January 2012 that required him to have a chaperone present during any physical examination of female patients. A chaperone was not present during the physical examination of two female patients in August of that year.

The Board suspended Mr Panda’s registration on 24 August 2012 and his registration expired in September 2013.

Mr Panda disputed the allegations put to the tribunal, claiming the complaints were made up at the request of staff at the general practice in which he had been working, as part of a conspiracy to remove him from the practice.

In November 2019, the tribunal found Mr Panda had engaged in professional misconduct on four grounds, including that he was convicted of eight counts of unlawful and indecent assault against female patients and breached conditions on his registration imposed by the Board.

The tribunal found Mr Panda’s claims about the allegations being false to be ‘implausible’, noting that, on the balance of probabilities, the alleged behaviour did occur in the manner described. The tribunal noted Mr Panda had been convicted after a trial by jury and had unsuccessfully appealed his conviction.

In its findings, the tribunal noted serious aggravating circumstances concerning Mr Panda’s offending including:

  • his position of trust as a doctor treating patients
  • the young age and vulnerable nature of the victims
  • offences against two victims occurred when he was in breach of the chaperone condition demonstrating the wilfulness of his offending, and
  • his deceitful conduct in misrepresenting medical services, including claiming to be administering pap tests or skin cancer checks in circumstances where he had no intention of providing such an examination.

The tribunal described Mr Panda’s actions as a ‘most grave departure from the standard reasonably expected of a registered health practitioner’ and noted his behaviour was ‘entirely inconsistent with him being a fit and proper person to hold registration in the medical profession’.

In March 2020, the tribunal disqualified Mr Panda from applying for registration as a medical practitioner for 10 years, ordered he be reprimanded and pay $47,440.63 towards the Board’s costs of the proceedings.

The full decision is published on the eCourts Portal of Western Australia website.

 
 
Page reviewed 29/05/2020