On 25 March 2020, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (the Tribunal) considered a charge of professional misconduct laid by a Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) against Dr N, medical practitioner (the Doctor).
The particulars of the Charge alleged the Doctor:
- prescribed medications including drugs of dependence, drugs of abuse and/or controlled drugs for his own use – (particulars 1 and 2);
- wrote prescriptions for his wife, each of his two daughters, his son, his mother, and his father which included drugs of dependence or controlled drugs or drugs of abuse – (particulars 4-9);
- failed to adequately document the treatment or the medications prescribed to family members - (particular 10);
- failed to disclose his addiction issues and mislead the Medical Council of New Zealand (MCNZ) in two applications for an Annual Practising Certificate (APC) - (particulars 11 and 12);
- mislead or attempted to mislead the MCNZ as to the extent of his addiction issues in representations made to it in 2017 – (particular13) ; and
- requested alterations to his medical records when these were requested by the PCC – (particular 15).
Particulars 3 and 14 were withdrawn.
The hearing proceeded on the basis of an Agreed Summary of Facts. The Doctor acknowledged that cumulatively his conduct did warrant disciplinary sanction.
The Tribunal found each particular of the Charge and all sub- particulars established. The Tribunal found they all separately warranted disciplinary sanction except for the prescribing to one of his daughters (particular 5) and his father (particular 9). The Tribunal found the misconduct alleged in particulars 5 and 9 was established but did not separately warrant disciplinary sanction. However, when considered cumulatively with the other particulars the conduct set out in particulars 5 and 9 did warrant disciplinary sanction.
- censured the Doctor;
- fined the Doctor $2000 in respect of the professional misconduct set out in particulars 11 and 12;
- imposed conditions on the Doctor’s practice; and
- ordered the Doctor pay costs of $35,000.
The Tribunal directed publication of the decision.