Decisions have been made by the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal for three practitioners.
Cancellation of registration for convicted dentist
The Tribunal ordered the cancellation of the registration of a dentist convicted of sexual offences, it being satisfied the offences reflected adversely on the dentist’s fitness to practise. The Tribunal stated: “The offence relates to a health practitioner’s core professional obligation to avoid any unlawful sexual conduct as it fundamentally undermines the trust and confidence that the community must have in a health practitioner.”
The convictions related to sexual offending outside of the practitioner’s work setting. The dentist’s conduct was viewed by the Tribunal as “reprehensible”. The order of cancellation was not, however, intended to punish the dentist. The Tribunal considered the penalties imposed were necessary to mark its “important role in protecting the health and safety of members of the public and for setting and maintaining professional standards”. The penalty order included several conditions to be satisfied if, and when, the dentist made an application for re-registration. The dentist was also censured and ordered to pay $5,958, being 20 percent of the costs of the professional conduct committee and the Tribunal. The dentist and victims of the offending were granted permanent suppression of name and identifying features. The Tribunal’s full decision is available here.
Technician practising outside registered scope of practice and without a practising certificate
The Tribunal held Mr Marc Emile Adams, a registered dental technician and clinical dental technician, guilty of professional misconduct. Mr Adams was found to have practised, and promoted himself, as a clinical dental technician before gaining registration with the Dental Council as a clinical dental technician. Further, he practised his profession without a current practising certificate. When considering whether or not disciplinary sanction was warranted for maintaining professional standards, protection of the public or penalising the practitioner, the Tribunal noted that the public needed protection from practitioners carrying out work, or holding themselves out as or otherwise promoting services for work, when they do not have the appropriate qualifications and a current practising certificate. The Tribunal made orders for censure; a fine of $4,500; a contribution of $22,000 towards the costs of prosecution; and for a period of three years, Mr Adams’s scope of practice would be subject to practice audits from the Dental Council. The full Tribunal decision is available here.
Dentist appealing Tribunal’s decision to the High Court
A dentist found to have breached acceptable boundaries with a colleague was found guilty of professional misconduct by the Tribunal. In its recent decision on the penalty to be imposed, the Tribunal ordered that the dentist be censured; suspended for three months; and pay costs of $50,000. Further, the Tribunal refused the dentist’s application for permanent name suppression. The dentist has appealed to the High Court against the Tribunal’s decision and a hearing has been scheduled to take place early next year. In the meantime, the Court has ordered a stay of the penalty decision pending its determination of the appeal.
The Tribunal’s decision is not yet publically available.