Medical Board of Australia - General practitioner reprimanded and suspended for practising in breach of conditions, failing to have professional indemnity insurance and for providing false information

General practitioner reprimanded and suspended for practising in breach of conditions, failing to have professional indemnity insurance and for providing false information

03 Feb 2022

A general practitioner who breached his registration conditions by practising without supervision and failing to have professional indemnity insurance has been reprimanded by a tribunal and suspended for 12 months.

Dr Chris Pepulani was practising as a general practitioner when the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) took immediate action on 25 May 2018 and imposed five conditions which included the requirement that he be supervised by another qualified practitioner when practising medicine.

Between June and November 2018, Dr Pepulani breached the conditions when he conducted more than 20 consultations over six days, including writing about 260 original prescriptions, while not having an approved supervisor.

Dr Pepulani breached the requirement that he not practise unless supervised again on three days between 19 December 2018 and 6 January 2019. In that time, he saw 39 patients.

Dr Pepulani also practised as a medical practitioner between 1 July 2018 to 20 September 2018 while not having any professional indemnity insurance (PII) cover.

When the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) was investigating Dr Pepulani’s conduct, he provided false and misleading statements that he had not practised or was not practising seven times. When he applied to renew his registration in September 2018, Dr Pepulani made a false declaration that he had PII in place during the previous registration period.

Following Dr Pepulani’s referral by the Board to the Western Australia State Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal), agreement was reached by both parties that the following conduct amounted to professional misconduct:

  • practising as a general practitioner without supervision, in breach of conditions which had been imposed on his registration requiring him to practise under supervision
  • practising as a medical practitioner without having professional indemnity insurance in place in breach of section 129(1) of the National Law,1 and
  • knowingly providing false information to Ahpra and the Board.

The agreed facts were presented on papers and the tribunal ordered that Dr Pepulani:

  • be reprimanded
  • have his registration suspended for 12 months, and
  • be subject to education and mentoring conditions upon his return to practice.

The tribunal said that the instances of dishonesty by Dr Pepulani were a breach of the Code of conduct which requires practitioners to display, among other things, honesty. It formed the view that Dr Pepulani was well aware the conditions of his registration required him to engage in supervision in respect of every consultation he had with a patient while the conditions were in place.

Dr Pepulani was ordered to pay a $15,000 contribution towards the Board’s costs. His registration has been suspended since 1 February 2019 when the Board took immediate action after discovering his non-compliance with the conditions of this registration. Dr Pepulani remains suspended from practice.

The tribunal’s full decision is published on the AustLII website.

1 The Health Practitioner Regulation National Law, as in force in each state and territory (the National Law).

 
 
 
Page reviewed 3/02/2022