Medical Board of Australia - Tribunal reprimands a GP and suspends his registration

Tribunal reprimands a GP and suspends his registration

08 Jul 2022

A GP has been reprimanded by a tribunal and had his registration suspended for two months for professional misconduct.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred Dr Cameron Day to the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal) in September 2021. The Board alleged that Dr Day’s behaviour involving the treatment of a patient constituted professional misconduct by:

  • hugging the patient while simultaneously saying words to the effect that the patient was a ‘good person/good girl’
  • making inappropriate comments to the patient, such as referring to his brother being in a relationship with a younger girl, that the patient made him ‘question my morals’ every time she attended for treatment, that he ‘enjoy it when you come in, I just really like putting my hands on you’
  • failing to provide any or any adequate privacy in the form of modesty coverings to the patient when providing manual assessment or therapies, including treatment known as ‘adductor release’ of her inner thigh
  • not maintaining adequate clinical notes for the relevant treatment period that failed to record or adequately record the history taken, examination findings and his clinical assessment and treatment modalities used
  • failing to enquire and/or make record of having enquired into the patient’s psychosocial or mental health status before treating the patient, and
  • failing to obtain any or adequate informed consent and/or without providing any or an adequate explanation for the treatment.

The Board’s action followed a notification alleging that Dr Day had made inappropriate sexual advances upon a patient while providing back and neck care in a consulting room. The Board took immediate action in June 2020 and imposed gender-based restrictions on Dr Day’s registration so that he was only permitted to see male patients.

On 17 March 2022, the tribunal found that Dr Day’s conduct constituted professional misconduct and described it as serious. It commented that the statements made to the patient were clearly such as to suggest to the patient that he obtained personal enjoyment or gratification from touching her body during the treatment, and that in the light of the intimate nature of the treatment described, it is no surprise that the patient felt highly distressed and violated.

The tribunal went on to find that Dr Day’s failure to provide a modesty covering when the patient was wearing a skirt and being treated by hand pressure to the bare skin of the inner thigh area was a particularly serious deficiency, and that the treatment in this case was of a type that required careful attention to the obtaining of informed consent. The tribunal commented that it was of great concern informed consent was not obtained or recorded and that the notes did not adequately indicate what treatment was performed or why.

The tribunal found that Dr Day’s conduct had fallen substantially short of the standard to be reasonably expected of a practitioner of his experience and training and ordered that:

  • Dr Day be reprimanded
  • his registration be suspended for two months from 17 March 2022
  • conditions be imposed on Dr Day’s registration requiring mentoring and quarterly practice audits for 12 months from resumption of practice, and
  • the review period for the conditions is 14 months.

Dr Day was ordered to pay the Board’s costs.

Read the tribunal’s full decision on the AustLII website.

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Page reviewed 8/07/2022