SA doctor gets longest ever ban from practising

16 Sep 2021

A South Australian general practitioner will never practise again following a 25-year ban by the South Australian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (the tribunal). 

 Key points:
  • Dr Brian Geoffrey Holder has had his registration cancelled and is banned from applying for registration or providing any health services for 25 years.
  • This is the longest ban ever imposed on a registered practitioner by a tribunal on referral from a National Board.
  • The outcome relates to the attempted murder of a pharmacist, inappropriate prescribing for five patients, inappropriate prescribing to himself and his wife, and providing misleading information about his conduct to the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency (Ahpra) and the Medical Board of Australia (the Board).

 

On 14 September, the tribunal found all allegations brought by the Board against Dr Brian Geoffrey Holder constituted professional misconduct. Dr Holder is currently serving a 15-year sentence of imprisonment for the attempted murder of a pharmacist who made a notification about his irregular and improper prescribing practices.

The allegations before the tribunal included:

  • the attempted murder of the notifier
  • inappropriate prescribing of benzodiazepines and codeine containing medications to five patients 
  • provision of misleading information to Ahpra and the Board, and
  • inappropriate prescribing to himself and his wife.

Given Dr Holder is currently 71 years old, the length of the ban means he will never again practise medicine or work in health services.

The tribunal stated that Dr Holder’s attempt to murder the notifier constituted professional misconduct of a most serious kind.

In relation to the prescribing offences, it noted : ‘We are most concerned that the respondent still has no insight as to the wrongfulness of his prescribing actions. He still maintains that his prescribing was appropriate. He has expressed no remorse or contrition. Even these proceedings have not brought home to him the seriousness of his defaults. There is no reason to think that he would change his ways if ever allowed to practise in the future.

‘This respondent could never again be trusted with the responsibilities of a registered medical practitioner. The public, and other health practitioners should never again be put at serious risk from the respondent. It is appropriate to set a disqualification which makes it clear to everyone that his career as a medical practitioner is over.’ 

The tribunal emphasised the seriousness of the conduct in this matter commenting that ‘there are some cases that are so serious that the sanctions must be career-ending.’ 

The outcome was supported by Ahpra and the Board.

Board Chair, Dr Anne Tonkin, said : ‘Such behaviour is completely incompatible with being a registered medical practitioner. We are pleased the tribunal has imposed this significant ban.’

‘A lifetime ban from treating the public underlines the seriousness of the matters considered by the tribunal and will keep the public safe,' Ahpra Chief Executive, Martin Fletcher, said. 

This matter was the catalyst for The Review of confidentiality safeguards for people making notifications about health practitioners. You can read about how Ahpra has implemented the recommendations here. 

Background:

The Review of confidentiality safeguards for people making notifications about health practitioners.

The review outcome of the review including Ahpra's full response.

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Page reviewed 16/09/2021