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Doctor Censured For Forging Prescriptions

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Doctor Censured For Forging Prescriptions

Wellington, Oct 28 NZPA - A doctor has been censured and must comply with conditions on her practice for two years after admitting professional misconduct for forging scripts and obtaining the weight loss drug Reductil (sibutramine).

The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal hearing today follows a district court conviction against the doctor in December 2009 on related charges, the New Zealand Doctor reported.

The doctor, whose name and identifying details were suppressed, forged the first script while working as a trainee intern in a general practice in 2007, signing it with the name of a doctor at the practice.

The doctor said she updated and used the script at a later time when working up to 120 hours as a house officer in a hospital and at part-time jobs.

Today she claimed to have shared the drug, which lists insomnia as a side effect, with hospital colleagues.

Her counsel, Harry Waalkens QC said she was disturbed by an incident involving an exhausted colleague who made a serious error of judgement.

The charges the tribunal considered related to two instances of forgery and one of knowingly using a forged script to obtain sibutramine (90 capsules).

In its decision, the tribunal expressed concern about both the premeditated nature of her actions and, through sharing the drug, drawing others into the consequences of her behaviour.

Against that the doctor readily admitted her offences, cooperated with the Medical Council and participated in the disciplinary process in an encouraging and positive manner, chairman David Carden said.

He said that in light of the doctor's promising future, the tribunal took a rehabilitative approach. It would require the Medical Council to put compulsory conditions on her practice for 24 months to assist her in reflecting on her professional obligations and assist the doctor with life skills.

The tribunal imposed a three-month suspension, but suspended it so it would only take effect if the doctor failed to comply with the Medical Council conditions. Otherwise it would lapse at the end of 24 months -- the same time as the conditions lapsed, Mr Carden said.

He ordered the doctor to pay just $5000 out of total costs of $46,000 due to her financial circumstances.

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