Tribunal imposes conditions on medical practitioner’s registration

23 Aug 2021

A tribunal has imposed conditions on a medical practitioner’s registration for unsatisfactory conduct and/or performance after he sought review of the Board’s original decision.

The Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (tribunal) has set aside the decision of the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) and replaced it with a new decision to impose conditions on WSS’s registration (a medical practitioner who has had their identity suppressed). The Board originally imposed the conditions in January 2018 as a result of concerns about WSS’s conduct and performance while working in a hospital emergency department and concerns that he was suffering an impairment. WSS appealed the Board’s decision and on review, the tribunal has found that WSS’s conduct and/or performance was unsatisfactory in eight respects, that he is suffering an impairment and imposed alternate conditions.

In September 2015, while WSS was working as a Principal House Officer in a hospital’s emergency department, the Board was notified about the management of two patients (Patient A and Patient B).

It was alleged that WSS failed to appropriately assess Patient A’s deterioration which together with the lack of discussion with and referral to his superior consultant, resulted in a lower level of care. Patient A suffered a heart attack and passed away days later.

With Patient B (who identified as trans-gender), it was alleged WSS performed an excessively long examination which involved an unnecessary full neurological assessment and an inappropriate examination of Patient B’s genitals without the patient’s consent. WSS then delivered an incorrect diagnosis in a highly inappropriate manner, distressing Patient B considerably. WSS was also found to have conducted this examination in deliberate contravention of restrictions placed on him by the hospital due to previous issues which required him to not work past 4.30pm.

The allegations were against a backdrop of long-standing issues experienced in hospital departments by WSS spanning approximately 10 years.

As a result of the tribunal’s findings it imposed the following conditions on WSS’s registration, requiring WSS:

  • must not practise in any position in a hospital setting
  • only practise in place(s) of practice approved by the Board
  • must not be the only medical practitioner at the practice site, and
  • be supervised by a supervisor who is be accessible by telephone or in person.

While the tribunal noted WSS’s desire to work in hospitals and the supposed advantage of greater supervision in hospital work, it considered WSS’s long history of unsatisfactory performance in hospitals, including: reacting badly to supervision; failing to consult supervisors and failure to comply with directions. In imposing this condition, the tribunal’s focus was on the protection of the public and the fact that he appears to have performed adequately in his current general practice position.

The tribunal refused to increase the level of supervision or impose conditions requiring the practitioner attend treating practitioners, as sought by the Board. The review period for the conditions imposed is two years.

Part 1 and Part 2 decisions are published on Austlii website.

 
 
Page reviewed 23/08/2021