|Charge Characteristics:||Inappropriate communication|
|Additional Orders:||Doctor granted name
Complainant granted name suppression: 9714cfindingslaw
A CAC charged that the Doctor was guilty of conduct unbecoming a medical practitioner and that conduct reflects adversely on his fitness to practise medicine. It charged that on or about June 19 1996 he communicated with a patient in an inappropriate manner by stating:
"xx [the patient's spouse] won't be getting any extras tonight".
The patient alleged that the Doctor made the statement during a consultation for a minor medical matter. It was made in response to the patient telling the Doctor that her hand, which had been shut in a car door by the patient's spouse just prior to the consultation, was sore. After leaving the Doctor’s room the patient told the nurse what the Doctor had said. No one else was present during the consultation. The Doctor denied making the remark.
The Doctor was found not guilty of conduct unbecoming a medical practitioner and that conduct reflects adversely on his fitness to practise medicine.
The Tribunal concluded as an issue of credibility that the statement was not made and therefore dismissed the charge.
The Tribunal found that Rule10(1)(f)(ii) of the Health Information Privacy code 1994 permits a patient to be cross-examined about her attendance on a doctor other than the one who has been charged if it is necessary for the conduct of proceedings before the Tribunal. That rule is subject to s32 Evidence Amendment (No 2) Act 1980 (prohibiting disclosure by a medical practitioner of protected communications without the patient's consent). The Tribunal held that section exists only to enable a patient to prevent his or her doctor from giving protected information and does not prevent the patient disclosing information or having that information put to the patient in cross-examination.