Medical Board of Australia v Dr Wong  QCAT 112 (Delivered on 1 April 2016)23 September 2016 | Health Sector
(Consideration of conditions to be imposed on the registrant’s registration. Registrant had been found to be impaired).
In an earlier decision of the Medical Board of Australia v Wong  QCAT 439, the Tribunal considered whether Dr Wong’s registration should be cancelled. Dr Wong ceased practice in or about 24 August 2012 voluntarily and immediately having being charged with 27 counts of sexual assault in relation to 19 complainants. All but one of the complainants were patients of Dr Wong. The other was an employee of the practice in which he worked.
Having being charged in August 2012 for numerous counts of sexual assault, Dr Wong’s legal representatives referred his mental condition to the Mental Health Court under the Mental Health Act 2000 (Qld). That reference was determined by the Mental Health Court on 6 November 2013. The Court found, and declared, that at the time of each of the alleged offences Dr Wong was suffering from unsoundness of mind as defined in Schedule 10 of the Mental Health Act. A forensic order was imposed upon Dr Wong by the Court.
Dr Wong was diagnosed with schizophrenia in 1998 and was allowed to continue practising subject to monitoring conditions. Those conditions were removed in 2004 and Dr Wong stopped getting treatment in 2008, leading to a relapse in 2012 when the various offences occurred.
The Medical Board of Australia (the Board) had argued that Dr Wong should be deregistered in light of his history of “aberrant” behaviour during his relapse. The Board argued that “Dr Wong’s relapse in 2012 provides a stark illustration of the risks to which members of the public would be exposed in the event that his proposed return to practice is sanctioned by the Tribunal”. Notwithstanding the views expressed by the Board, the Tribunal considered the risk of Dr Wong relapsing to be minimal pointing to the submissions of the Board’s own medical experts that Dr Wong was being fully compliant with medication and counselling and fit to return to work gradually.
The parties were directed to consult with a view to formulating appropriate conditions to be imposed on Dr Wong’s registration by the Tribunal. This decision involved the Tribunal’s consideration of those proposed conditions.
Each party proposed conditions and made submissions in support of those conditions. While there was some significant agreement about the conditions proposed, there were a number of areas of disagreement.
Ultimately, the Board was largely unsuccessful in its submissions as to the required conditions. The Tribunal noted, however, that until the cross examination of its expert, Dr Harden, the Board had some expert evidence that justified its position.
Dr Wong is currently subject to numerous conditions relating to medical treatment, medical compliance, drug screening, independent psychiatric review, his place of employment, supervision and return to work program. In total, there were 41 conditions imposed upon Dr Wong’s practice.
Notably only the conditions relating to Dr Wong’s place of employment and supervision appear on the AHPRA website. Section 266 of the Health Practitioner Regulation National Law Act provides that the Board has the discretion not to record the details of an undertaking accepted from a registered health practitioner because the practitioner has an impairment if:
(a) It is necessary to protect the practitioner’s privacy; and
(b) There is no overriding public interest for the condition or the details of the undertaking to be recorded.
Read the full version of HealthFiles | September 2016.