work in progress – stay tuned
Queensland Medical Board sacked, interim board installed
23 May 2013
AHPRA and the Medical Boards – protecting their own
10 December 2012
9 March 2008 | William Birnbauer
While doctors regulate themselves, the innocent suffer
8 March 2008 | The Age Opinion
Board ‘mishandled’ case of rapist doctor David Tong
5 March 2008
South Australia Medical Board bucketed for failures
3 March 2008
Queensland: Fit to practice
26 August 2006 | Clara Pirani
Doctors stay on duty after sex assaults
21 August 2006 | The Australian
Health authorities are putting patients at risk by allowing doctors who have committed criminal offences, including sexual assault, to continue to practise. According to one of the nation’s leading medical regulators, doctors found guilty of sexual assault can continue to practise in many cases, if they are closely supervised or a “chaperone” is present during consultations.
The NSW Medical Board decided last year that a cosmetic surgeon charged with aggravated sexual assault on a patient could continue to practise as long as a nurse was present when he examined female patients.
Another GP faces suspension for a second time over allegations he conducted a pap smear that was more “sexual than medical”, while making sexually suggestive comments to the patient.
The GP had his licence suspended for 15 months in 2001 after engaging in sexual relationships with two vulnerable female patients. His licence was renewed on the condition a chaperone be present whenever he examined female patients.
Dr Joanna FLYNN, who is president of the Medical Practitioners Board of Victoria, would not comment on that case, but said doctors who needed a chaperone should not be allowed to practise.
“If a determining body believes it is necessary to have a doctor chaperoned because they are not confident the patient would be safe, in my view that doctor should not be registered,” Dr FLYNN told The Australian.
“Patients must be able to trust their doctor. They may want to question the doctor on medical information, but they need to be able to trust they won’t be mistreated by the doctor.”
NSW Medical Board chief executive Andrew DIX said there were no offences that automatically led to a doctor being struck off the register.
Dr DIX defended the use of chaperones to monitor doctors who had committed serious offences, but admitted the system did not guarantee the doctor would not reoffend.
“We have a comprehensive chaperoning protocol which requires the regular submission of the chaperone’s reports to the board,” he said.
“But if doctors are determined to be dishonest, some will manage to get away with things.”
Only the medical boards of Queensland, South Australia and the ACT currently have websites that provide detailed information about the registration of doctors. AMA Queensland president Zelle HODGE said medical boards and organisations that employed medical staff often lacked the resources to consistently monitor doctors. “The medical boards simply do not have the resources to go out and police these restrictions,” Dr HODGE said.
“It’s up to the doctor’s employer to monitor the doctor’s performance and make sure they are supervised, and sometimes that doesn’t happen.”