Tribunal suspends psychologist for professional misconduct

Psychology Board of Australia, 1 December 2017
“A tribunal has reprimanded a psychologist, suspended her registration for 18 months and imposed conditions on her registration to come into effect if and when she returns to practice. The tribunal made its decision after finding that the practitioner had behaved in a way that constitutes professional misconduct in relation to her consultations with a child, communications with the Police and communications with the Family Court of Western Australia.”
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Moral Choices for Today’s Physician

JAMA. 2017;318(21):2081-2082.
Author: Donald M Berwick
“The work of a physician as healer cannot stop at the door of an office, the threshold of an operating room, or the front gate of a hospital. The rescue of a society and the restoration of a political ethos that remembers to heal have become the physician’s jobs, too. Professional silence in the face of social injustice is wrong.”
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Medical practitioner’s registration cancelled for serious and unethical misconduct

Medical Board of Australia, 29 November 2017
“A tribunal has cancelled medical practitioner Wijeneka Liyanage’s registration for serious and unethical misconduct, which included an inappropriate personal relationship with a patient, unsatisfactory professional performance in relation to two other patients, and for deleting and falsifying medical records with the intention of misleading an investigation into his practice.”
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Professional and conscience-based refusals: the case of the psychiatrist’s harmful prescription

JME 2017;43:841-844.
Author: Morten Magelssen
“By way of a case story, two common presuppositions in the academic debate on conscientious objection in healthcare are challenged. First, the debate typically presupposes a sharp division between conscience-based refusals based on personal core moral beliefs and refusals based on professional (eg, medical) reasons. Only the former might involve the moral gravity to warrant accommodation. The case story challenges this division, and it is argued that just as much might sometimes be at stake morally in refusals based on professional reasons.”
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Pharmacy Board of Australia v Mak (Review and Regulation) [2017] VCAT 1901

Decision date: 24 November 2017
“Review and Regulation List – Health Practitioner Regulation National Law (Victoria) Act 2009; ss.5, 130; 196; professional misconduct; unprofessional conduct; theft; failure to notify Board within seven days of having been charged; failure to notify Board within seven days a finding of guilt. Reprimand -conditions to undertake education and conditions to undertake a period of mentoring.”
Find decision here.

Health Care Professionals and Law Enforcement

NEJM, 8 November 2017
Author: Arthur R. Derse
“Health care professionals generally have a respectful, sometimes even friendly, attitude toward law enforcement. We may feel we’re on the same team as the police when we’re treating victims of crime, and police may be called to protect us from people who seek to harm us in the hospital. Some health care professionals in emergency departments or intensive care units may have frequent interactions with police officers who are investigating alleged crimes. But the relationship may be profoundly tested when health care professionals refuse demands from law enforcement that conflict with what we understand to be our professional obligations.”
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Henkelman v Psychology Council of NSW [2017] NSWCATOD 161

Decision date: 8 November 2017
“Application for dismissal of appeal pursuant to s 55(1)(b) of the Civil and Administrative Tribunal Act 2013 – principles to be applied. In summary, the Council: (1) Noted a pattern of complaints that raised concerns that Mr Henkelman either did not understand, or was in wilful disregard of his professional responsibilities in relation to professional boundaries; (2) Found that those complaints also raised concerns in regard to Mr Henkelman’s ability to communicate professionally and effectively.”
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Has the right to breach patient confidentiality created a common law duty to warn genetic relatives?

QUT Law Review Volume 17, Issue 1, pp.147–159
Author: Wendy Nixon
“This paper discusses the conflict between a medical practitioner’s duty of care and duty to maintain patient confidentiality, and their statutory right to inform a relative about a possible genetic condition. The statutory right arguably creates a Rogers v Whitaker type duty to provide the same information a patient might require in order to make informed choices about testing and treatment. In the event that reasonable clinical judgment is not applied to disclosure, the genetic relative ought to be offered the opportunity to seek redress through the common law if they suffer harm as a result.”
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Dr Michel Ward – Unsatisfactory professional conduct

HCCC, 25 September 2017
“The Commission prosecuted a complaint against Dr Michael Ward, a medical practitioner, before a Medical Council Professional Standards Committee. The Complaint related to treatment received by Patient A during his third presentation in several days to the Emergency Department of Mudgee Hospital in January 2015.”
Find media release here.

NHS prescribed record number of antidepressants last year

The Guardian, 30 June 2017
Author: Denis Campbell
“The NHS prescribed a record number of antidepressants last year, fuelling an upward trend that has seen the number of pills given to patients more than double over the last decade. The figures raised questions over whether the rise shows doctors are handing out the drugs out too freely or whether it means more people are getting help to tackle their anxiety, depression and panic attacks. Prescriptions for 64.7m items of antidepressants – an all-time high – were dispensed in England in 2016.”
Find article here.