25 May 2022
A tribunal has confirmed the decision of the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) to suspend a GP’s registration following allegations of inappropriate conduct and/or performance.
Trigger warning: Some readers may find this article distressing. If you are experiencing distress, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 for confidential help. If you are a medical practitioner, you can also visit the drs4drs website.
The Board took immediate action on 10 March 2021 and suspended Dr Sofoklis Lahanis’s registration (in effect from 11 March 2021) following a complaint from a female patient who saw him for the first and only time on 1 February 2021. Her complaint was about Dr Lahanis’s conduct and/or performance during a cervical screen and bimanual examination (an internal vaginal examination).
On 31 March 2021, Dr Lahanis lodged an appeal of the Board’s decision with the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal). The tribunal heard the appeal on 31 March 2022.
The patient alleged that:
Dr Lahanis’s position was that:
The tribunal formed a reasonable belief that, because of his conduct, Dr Lahanis poses a serious risk to persons and it is necessary to take immediate action to protect health or safety. It considered that no immediate action short of suspension would be appropriate. The tribunal confirmed the Board’s decision in full.
The tribunal noted that although the circumstances of the matter point to a serious risk of Dr Lahanis engaging in improper sexual contact with female patients within a particular age group, its view was that the breach of trust involved in a sexual boundary transgression would usually mean that a practitioner posed some risk to all patients.
The tribunal also noted that:
Read the tribunal’s full decision on the AustLII website.