Charge Detail Summary

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File Number: Med16/371P
Practitioner: Joseph Williams


Hearing Start Date:

Hearing End Date:

08/08/2017

10/08/2017


Hearing Town/City: Auckland

Hearing Location:

Monday 31 July through to and including Friday 4 August, and Monday 7 through to and including Friday 11 August 2017

Victoria Room, Crowne Plaza Hotel, 128 Albert Street, Auckland commencing at 9.00 am


Charge Characteristics:

Prescribing - inappropriate/inadequate (Established)


Records - inadequate/inappropriate
(Established)


Treatment - care inadequate/inappropriate
(Established)


Additional Orders:

Name Suppression to Practitioner

Practitioner granted interim suppression of name and identifying features

861Med16371P.pdf


Name Suppression to Complainant and/or Patient and/or client

Patients granted interim name suppression

861Med16371P.pdf


Name Suppression to Complainant and/or Patient and/or client

Patients granted permanent suppression of name and identifying features

909Med16371P.pdf


Appeal Order:


Decision:

909Med16371P.pdf


Appeal Decision:

Full Decision
Outcome

The practitioner appealed to the High Court against the Tribunal's decision.  The appeal was dismissed.  Williams v PCC [2018] NZHC 2472.



Precis of Decision:

Charge

At a hearing held on 31 July to10 August 2017, the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal considered two charges laid by the Professional Conduct Committee (PCC) against Dr Joseph Williams, registered medical practitioner of Auckland.

The Tribunal has treated the two charges as one Charge but with two categories.

Category 1 concerns prescribing a combination of a potent topical steriod and an antifungal cream in circumstances that amounted to professional misconduct in respect of 12 patients.

Category 2 concerned providing dietary advice in circumstances that departed from accepted medical practice or that resulted in actual harm to the patient.

Certain particulars of the Charge also referred to issues concerning note-taking in the context of the prescribing of the medicines to the patient.

Findings

Category 1 of the Charge was upheld.  While the Doctor may have used the mixture of the steriod and the antifungal cream with significant success, on the evidence before the Tribunal the use of the mixture for the individual cases the subject of the Charge, it was inappropriate and/or excessive.

The Tribunal was concerned that the Doctor mixed the two medicines without himself having conducted any proper validated analysis of the consequences and without adequate formal research.  A further major factor was that the Doctor in many cases, prescribed the mixture in the face of concerns being expressed to him by other professionals whose views he should have respected and taken into account.

Category 2 of the Charge was also upheld.  The dietary advice was inappropriate in the particular circumstances of the patient and brought harm to the patient.

The Tribunal also found the Doctor's note-taking to be inadequate.

Penalty

The Tribunal censured the Doctor; fined him $10,000 and imposed conditions on his practice.  The Tribunal ordered the Doctor to pay a total contribution of $145,000 towards the costs of the Tribunal and the PCC.

The Tribunal directed publication of its decision and a summary.

The Doctor appealed to the High Court against the Tribunal's decision.  The appeal was dismissed.  Williams v PCC [2018] NZHC 2472.