Te Rōpū Whakatika Kaimahi Hauora | He Whakataunga

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal | Outcomes

 Dr A

In a decision released in June 2023, the Tribunal cancelled a paediatrician’s registration, following two convictions for indecent assault towards female extended family members in their late teens.

The conduct took place over 4 months, while the two family members were living with Dr A, and he had previously been sentenced to 5 months’ home detention by the District Court. The Tribunal found the two convictions reflected adversely on Dr A’s fitness to practise and that Dr A’s conduct had brought and/or was likely to bring discredit to the medical profession.

In coming to this decision, the Tribunal noted the nature and prolonged duration of Dr A’s conduct, Dr A’s scope of practice as a paediatrician and the gross breach of trust involved with the offending. Against this, the Tribunal noted Dr A’s guilty pleas, his lack of previous disciplinary history and engagement with rehabilitation. However, the Tribunal also noted Dr A ’didn’t seem truly remorseful for his actions’. In addition, the Tribunal said it was difficult to imagine any conviction for indecent assault that did not reflect adversely on a practitioner’s fitness to practise.

The Tribunal cancelled Dr A’s registration and prohibited him from reapplying for a minimum of 3 years. The Tribunal also censured him and imposed conditions on his return to practice. This included that he must undertake a Sexual Misconduct Assessment test (and comply with any conditions arising), to comply with any chaperone conditions imposed, and that he must advise any future employers and supervisors of the Tribunal’s decision and its orders.

The Tribunal ordered permanent name suppression to protect the identity of Dr A's victimes.

 Dr Paltridge

In a decision published on 7 June 2023, the Tribunal suspended Dr Christopher Bevan Paltridge for a period of six months following a finding of professional misconduct relating to inappropriate prescribing and importation of medications.

Dr Paltridge is an Auckland-based GP who worked as a director and doctor at the New Zealand Men’s Clinic (NZ Men’s Clinic). He admitted to the Tribunal that between 2012-2017 and while working at the NZ Men’s Clinic:

  • He prescribed performance and image-enhancing drugs (PIEDs) without clinical indication for its use, some of which were not registered for use in New Zealand or in humans;
  • In treating patients, he failed to conduct adequate clinical investigations and record adequate consultation notes/maintain clinical records in accordance with accepted standards of medical practice;
  • He wrote prescriptions to individuals who were not in his care, for whom the medications were never intended; and
  • He imported medications by providing Medsafe with inaccurate patient prescription lists.

The Tribunal was satisfied that Dr Paltridge’s conduct involved clear breaches of professional standards which amounted to malpractice and negligence. It also found that the conduct brought discredit to the profession.

In considering an appropriate penalty, the Tribunal took into consideration several factors including a previous finding of professional misconduct in 2011 for inappropriate prescribing. Dr Paltridge was censured, suspended for 6 months, and fined $5000. The Tribunal also ordered conditions on his return to practice for a period of 3 years, including preventing him from prescribing/dispensing/importing PIEDs and from working in solo practice. He will also have to disclose the decision to current and future employers. Dr Paltridge was ordered to pay 54% of the PCC’s and Tribunal’s costs.

A more detailed summary of the Tribunal’s decision is available here on the Council’s website.