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Natural health GP breached health code by reducing insulin levels to diabetic

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Health and Disability Commissioner Anthony Hill today released a report finding a GP in breach of the Code of Health and Disability Services Consumers’ Rights for the care provided to a woman with Type 2 diabetes and thyroid concerns.

The GP, who specialises in natural health solutions, had trialled reducing the woman’s insulin because of concerns that she might be allergic to it.

Mr Hill found that the GP had prescribed reduced insulin when the woman’s blood sugar levels (BSLs) were above a level where this could be done safely. Mr Hill also criticised the GP’s monitoring of the woman’s BSLs.

"Given the relatively swift reduction of insulin and the need for careful management of the woman’s BSLs, the failure to order a repeat HbA1c test three months after the initial test was sub-optimal in these circumstances."

Mr Hill was also critical about the GP’s attempts to address the woman’s concerns about thyroid function with prescriptions of the thyroid hormone T3 and iodine. Mr Hill found that the GP had prescribed the thyroid hormone T3 when it was not clinically indicated. The GP also prescribed iodine at an objectively high dose despite the extent of the woman’s potential iodine deficiency being unclear, and when it would have been safer to take a more cautious approach.

Mr Hill also pointed to problems with the GP’s notes of their consultations.

"I am concerned that there were several instances where material issues regarding the woman’s care were not documented."

Mr Hill recommended that the GP provide a written apology to the woman, carry out an audit of daily notes to ensure that all notes are entered for any given day, and consider adopting a written consultation protocol as recommended by the Medical Council of New Zealand.

The full report for case 17HDC01144 is available on the HDC website.

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