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Medical practitioner suspended for professional misconduct relating to inappropriate prescribing

23 Jul 2020

The State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (the tribunal) has reprimanded and suspended Dr John Whiteside’s registration as a medical practitioner for twelve months for engaging in professional misconduct.

The tribunal found Dr Whiteside had inappropriately prescribed medications to several patients in his role as a sole medical practitioner at a practice in Western Australia.

Patient RL attended Dr Whiteside in October 2014 seeking pain relief following a slow recovery from an injury. Between October 2014 and August 2015, Dr Whiteside wrote several repeat prescriptions for Primoteston ampoules for the patient. Primoteston is a form of testosterone and is prescribed for the treatment of confirmed testosterone deficiency. The tribunal found that there was no medical indication for Patient RL to be prescribed Primoteston. The quantity and frequency of the prescriptions put Patient RL at risk of impaired liver function and Dr Whiteside did not monitor the patient’s liver function.

In July 2015, the Department of Health authorised Dr Whiteside to prescribe Pethidine, a Schedule 8 drug, for Patient GG, who was suffering from chronic pain. Between July 2015 and July 2016, Dr Whiteside exceeded the amount of Pethidine that he was authorised to prescribe contrary to the Poisons Regulations 1965 (WA). The tribunal found that Dr Whiteside’s prescription of Pethidine was inappropriate and exceeded the maximum recommended dose, placing Patient GG at risk of dependence on, and/or abuse of, Pethidine and other adverse effects.

The tribunal also found that Dr Whiteside prescribed testosterone and human chorionic gonadotrophin (HCG) to Patient AM, in circumstances where there was no clinical indication for the prescribing, and that Dr Whiteside had prescribed Minomycin to the patient in contravention of the Poisons Regulations 1965 (WA).

Further, the tribunal found that Dr Whiteside failed to maintain adequate clinical notes between October 2014 and June 2016 for multiple patients.

On 20 August 2018, the tribunal made orders suspending Dr Whiteside’s registration for twelve months and imposed various conditions on his return to practice, including (but not limited to) a prohibition on accessing Schedule 8 medicines and requiring that he practise under supervision.

The full decision is published on the eCourts website.

Page reviewed 23/07/2020