A NSW MP has called for real time public reporting about professional misconduct, after a pharmacist’s registration was cancelled for bashing three people
The pharmacist owns two pharmacies which solely to provide methadone and buprenorphine to patients enrolled on the NSW Opioid Treatment Program, though he has not practised the profession since July 2018. He still owns and operates the pharmacies.
At that time the Pharmacy Council imposed several conditions on the pharmacist’s registration – including that he “not have face-to-face contact with potential, current or former clients of any pharmacy in which he held a financial interest and not to practise as a pharmacist without supervision”.
This was regarding a number of offences in which the pharmacist, after being asked to leave a hotel where he had been involved in an altercation with a friend and two other people, punched a woman in the face and punched and kicked a man.
The pharmacist, after being called out to aggressively by a former patient, was also convicted of assaulting the man and intimidating him. He did not report the convictions to regulators.
Last week a Tribunal found him guilty of professional misconduct and cancelled his registration.
Afterwards, NSW Labor MP for Newcastle Tim Crakanthorp told the Newcastle Herald that he was “gravely concerned” about public transparency about health professionals who have behaved in an unprofessional way.
In this case the pharmacist had asked Mr Crakanthorp to support him in expanding his opioid substitution therapy service, which the MP did – without knowledge of the pharmacist’s convictions.
Mr Crakanthorp told the Herald that he would never offer such support to a health professional who had been convicted of these offences.
He later told the AJP that it is difficult for anyone, patients included, to find out that such convictions had been made against health providers.
“A big problem around public transparency is that even if you wanted to research a health professional the information is rarely available, so it’s difficult to make an informed decision about who is providing your health care if you can’t learn anything about their history,” he said.
“When you see a health practitioner you expect to be able to trust them so it’s very concerning to learn about criminal convictions months or even years after the fact, particularly for aggressive behaviour.
“When the public only learns about this through the media it decreases trust in the industry and undermines the multitude of health practitioners who are doing the right thing.
“It is clear that self-reporting is not working,” he told the AJP.
“Real-time public reporting about unprofessional conduct and misconduct from the governing bodies is an improvement that needs to be made.”