Medical Board of Australia - GP suspended for six months for treating family members
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GP suspended for six months for treating family members

09 Jan 2024

A Victorian GP has been suspended for six months for treating six members of her own family, including prescribing Schedule 8 medications without a required permit.

The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) referred the GP, given the pseudonym 'AEB' to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal over allegations she inappropriately treated her father, mother, two sons, grandfather and ex-husband.

The tribunal heard that AEB's role as general practitioner to her father for more than 25 years was 'very inappropriate' and included an extended prescription of pethidine without a necessary permit.

'The provision of medical treatment by AEB to her family members is alleged (and accepted by AEB) to have been contrary to applicable standards and codes of conduct for registered medical practitioners which have been in place since September 2004,' the tribunal found.

'AEB's extended prescription of pethidine to her father, without a permit and without proper consideration of the appropriateness and risks of such treatment, is an illustration of the problems which can arise.'

The tribunal found AEB had:

  • prescribed pethidine to one family member for 20 months without a permit
  • provided ongoing medical care to her father for more than 14 years from 2004, including inappropriate prescribing
  • provided ongoing medical care to her mother for more than 15 years from 2004
  • provided medical care to her son in January 2019
  • provided medical care to another son in June 2017, and again in December 2017
  • provided medical care to her husband in November 2014
  • provided medical care to her grandfather between 2004 and 2011.

The tribunal heard evidence that AEB had experienced pressure from a coercive family, which could be considered family violence and was a mitigating factor. AEB also submitted evidence of counselling, including her insight and development, which had occurred since she ceased providing medical care to family members.

The tribunal found AEB's behaviour amounted to five instances of professional misconduct and three instances of unprofessional conduct. It ordered she be reprimanded, her registration be suspended for six months, and she be required to undertake mentoring for 12 months.

The tribunal reflected on the risks of doctors treating their family members, which has long been recognised as problematic.

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

Page reviewed 9/01/2024