28 Jan 2021
A general practitioner in Western Australia has been reprimanded and had his registration suspended for six months for professional misconduct after he acted inappropriately towards a member of staff at a pharmacy.
The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) received a notification about Dr Nigel Farrier’s conduct in May 2019. It was alleged he made inappropriate and unwarranted sexual gestures and actions towards a woman who worked at a pharmacy next door to the medical practice where he was employed.
According to the agreed facts, Dr Farrier behaved in this manner during two incidents on the same day in April 2019. During the first incident Dr Farrier pursed his lips and blew kisses at the staff member. He later kissed her on the lips without her consent.
Dr Farrier was charged with unlawful indecent assault under the WA Criminal code and failed to provide Ahpra written (or any) notice of that charge as is required by the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law. Dr Farrier was not ultimately convicted of this offence.
The Board took immediate action to suspend Dr Farrier’s registration in January 2020 and the allegations were referred to the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia (the tribunal).
The matter was settled at mediation on 10 December 2020. In addition to the six-month suspension of his registration, the tribunal imposed a condition on Dr Farrier’s registration requiring him to complete six hours of education. This included the completion of a reflective practice report in relation to professional ethics, professional relationships, sexual harassment and the effect of an unsafe work environment on patient safety.
By way of mitigation, the parties noted that Dr Farrier had cooperated with the Board early in the proceedings which avoided the need for a hearing.
Dr Farrier was ordered to pay $5,000 towards the Board’s costs of the proceedings.
The decision is available on the eCourts Portal of Western Australia website.