Inappropriate behaviour by a GP

Last year a Yanchep GP was found to have failed to properly maintain proper professional boundaries with a patient.

THE Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency is the right place to make a complaint if you are concerned a health practitioner is behaving in a way that could present a risk to you, to other patients or members of the public.

Last year Yanchep medical practitioner Dr Sugan Appasamy was reprimanded for failing to properly maintain professional boundaries with a patient.

The Medical Board of Australia referred allegations against Dr Sugan Appasamy to the State Administrative Tribunal (SAT) on October 19, 2016.

During the tribunal proceedings, Dr Appasamy admitted he had engaged in unprofessional conduct including failing to maintain proper professional boundaries when treating a female patient.

Dr Appasamy admitted that between October 26, 2013 and April 11, 2014, he made numerous phone calls to the patient on her mobile phone, and between April 9, 2014 and May 5, 2014, he sent her numerous text messages on her mobile phone, including of a personal nature.

The medical practitioner’s conduct was aggravated by the fact he had treated the patient for gynaecological issues and also for depression and counselling for psychological and marital issues.

He also admitted he had acted in breach of the professional boundaries of a registered medical practitioner outlined in the board’s Good Medical Practice: A Code of Conduct for Doctors in Australia.

Dr Appasamy submitted to the tribunal that he had carried out voluntary further education in relation to professional boundaries, and that he had no prior disciplinary history.

He had already been the subject of chaperone conditions for a three-year period from May 16, 2014 to June 22, 2017 which were imposed as a result of action taken by the board, and submitted that he had made appropriate admissions of unprofessional conduct.

Dr Appasamy added that the investigation and proceedings had been a cause of considerable stress and anxiety.

On June 22, 2017 SAT ordered that Dr Appasamy had behaved in a way that constituted unprofessional conduct, that he be reprimanded and pay the board’s costs of $10,000.

The decision is available on the tribunal’s website.

The AHPRA website said any person or organisation could make a complaint or raise a concern with AHPRA if they had concerns about a registered health practitioner.

There are a number of concerns or complaints AHPRA can consider from serious or repeated mistakes in carrying out procedures, in diagnosis or in prescribing medicines, failure to examine a patient properly to a practitioner abusing their professional position for example by engaging in a sexual relationship or personal relationship with a patient and inappropriate examination of a patient.

In Western Australia if you want an apology, an explanation or a review of the care or treatment a health practitioner provided to you, you should first contact the place where you received the care or visit the Health and Disability Services Complaints Office website.