|Practitioner:||Dr Brent Stephen Savage|
|Charge Characteristics:||Intent to defraud - using a document for pecuniary advantage|
A Complaints Assessment Committee of the Medical Council of New Zealand laid against Dr Brent Stephen Savage of Christchurch a charge alleging that he was convicted by the District Court of six offences against Section 229(A)(b) of the Crimes Act 1961 (each being an offence punishable by imprisonment for a term of three months or longer) and that the circumstances of the offences reflect adversely on his fitness to practise medicine.
The offences of which Dr Savage was convicted related to the claiming by him of General Medical Service subsidies from Health Benefits Limited in respect of patient consultations. Following the receipt of information from a general practitioner then employed by Dr Savage and from an adult patient, Health Benefits Limited conducted a formal investigation audit at Dr Savage's then premises in January 1998. Investigations showed that Dr Savage had been paid subsidies in respect of claims he submitted where no service was provided by him to the patients claimed.
The charge was admitted and the Tribunal was satisfied that Dr Savage had been convicted as alleged and that the circumstances of the offences reflected adversely on his fitness to practise medicine.
In its decision the Tribunal noted that the present case represented Dr Savage's fourth appearance before medical disciplinary bodies in a little over eight years. On all three previous occasions findings adverse to him were made and he was punished. By April 1997 Dr Savage had been censured four times and ordered to pay penalties totaling $3,000 and costs exceeding $50,000. However, within a little over six months from then Dr Savage commenced to commit the criminal offences which resulted in the convictions which brought him before the Tribunal in this case.
The Tribunal ordered: