On 19 March 2012 the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) considered a charge laid by a Professional Conduct Committee against Dr S, a medical practitioner.
The charge alleged Dr S was guilty of professional misconduct in that he inappropriately and with reckless disregard for patient safety prescribed opioids and benzodiazepines to five patients.
Dr S admitted the charge of professional misconduct. The Tribunal found there was:
- a pattern of inappropriate and excessive prescribing of addictive drugs
- an insufficient maintenance of professional boundaries
The Tribunal found Dr S’s conduct constituted negligence, malpractice and the bringing of discredit to the profession and therefore the charge of professional misconduct was established.
The Tribunal found that this was a case where it was appropriate for a rehabilitative approach to be taken. Dr S was censured and ordered to pay $24,000 costs. The following conditions were placed on his practice:
- Dr S continue to engage with his psychologist for a period of 18 months; consultations are to be at least monthly and at Dr S’ cost.
- Dr S continue in his mentoring relationship with a medical practitioner for a period of 12 months. If any cost issues arise they are to be met by Dr S.
- His mentor is to confirm to the Medical Council each six months that the previous two conditions have been complied with.
- Dr S complete his Professional Plan as it relates to upskilling his computer and IT skills, so as to enhance his ability to access in-consultation clinical information; and he is to complete the BPAC and BMJ self-directed learning modules. Both of these requirements are to be met to the satisfaction of his mentor, the intent of the condition being that Dr S continue to discuss these issues with his mentor while he is undertaking those courses.
- Dr S shall discuss his quarterly prescribing reports with his mentor during the period of mentoring described above.
The full decision relating to the case can be found on the Tribunal web site at www.hpdt.org.nz Reference No: Med11/197P