Continued Suspension not in public interest

by | Jun 30, 2019 | Health Blog

An anaesthetist has been successful in his appeal against the suspension of his registration following his performance of an unwarranted physical examination.

In April 2019 Julia Wilcock reported on the Tribunal’s decision to stay the suspension of the anaesthetist pending his appeal in the matter. Click here to read Julia’s post and the background to the case.

Last week, the Tribunal delivered its decision on the practitioner’s appeal. Click here to read the decision in Hill v Medical Council of New South Wales [2019] NSWCATOD 97.

On Appeal, the Medical Council did not seek to argue that the continued suspension of the practitioner was necessary for the protection of the health and safety of a person or persons, but rather that it was necessary to maintain the honour and integrity of the medical profession generally. It was argued that by examining the patient without consent, the doctor had violated a fundamental principle of medical practice and undermined the dignity of the patient.

The Tribunal found that the practitioner’s actions constituted a serious lapse of judgment and a failure to recognise his role as an advocate for his vulnerable, unconscious patient.

Accepting the doctor’s evidence that he had reflected on what had occurred and demonstrated remorse and regret for his actions, the Tribunal was satisfied that he will practice anaesthetics ethically and in accordance with the relevant guidelines and codes of practice. They therefore did not consider that the continuation of the suspension was in the public interest.

The Tribunal also found that the incident was one of medical curiosity rather than one of a sexual nature. It confirmed that the the Sexual Boundaries: Guidelines for Doctors, did not have application in this particular matter.

Gemma McGrath

Gemma McGrath