20 Jan 2021
A tribunal has imposed conditions on the registration of a medical practitioner which restricts him from performing certain surgical procedures.
The Office of the Health Ombudsman received separate complaints in February and May 2019, from two patients who had reported they had suffered complications after procedures performed by Dr Robert Arthur D’Hotman De Villiers. Both required further operative treatment.
In September 2019, the Medical Board of Australia (the Board) took immediate action to impose conditions on Dr D’Hotman De Villiers’ registration restricting him from performing surgical procedures, defined as any procedures which require incision of the skin. The Board considered Dr D’Hotman De Villiers had performed surgical procedures beyond his competence, training, skills and experience.
In October 2019, Dr D’Hotman De Villiers sought a review of the Board’s decision in the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal).
After considering expert opinions during the proceedings, the tribunal found that restricting Dr D’Hotman De Villiers from performing any surgical procedures went beyond what was required to address the relevant risk.
On 28 April 2020, the tribunal amended the Board’s decision to permit Dr D’Hotman De Villiers to perform a number of specified surgical procedures, as well as some minor emergency procedures for acute conditions. He remains restricted from performing any procedural sedation and his practice is to be audited every three months. The conditions will remain in place while the complaints are being investigated by the Board.
In making its decision, the tribunal concluded that it held a reasonable belief that, because of Dr D’Hotman De Villiers’ performance, he poses a serious risk to persons, and it was necessary to take immediate action to protect public health and safety. The tribunal noted Dr D’Hotman De Villiers was an experienced general practitioner who had practised medicine for 40 years.
The tribunal’s decision is available here.