S8 prescribing rights revoked

codeine tabsules spill from orange pill bottle

A doctor has been reprimanded and barred from prescribing S8s after he did so without the correct authorisation

The Medical Board referred Dr Ainslie James Hay Waddell, a specialist GP, to the State Administrative Tribunal in Western Australia in May 2018.

The referral followed an investigation into his conduct after Dr Waddell’s Schedule 8 prescribing rights were revoked by the WA Department of Health.

On 12 July 2016, Dr Waddell’s Schedule 8 prescribing rights were revoked by the WA Department of Health.

In May 2018, the Board commenced proceedings in the Tribunal by reason of Dr Waddell’s apparent poor prescribing practices.

An agreed term of settlement between the Board and Dr Waddell was accepted by the Tribunal on 29 November 2018.

Dr Waddell admitted that his prescribing practices were inappropriate by reason of him having prescribed S8s under certain circumstances, including to patients for a period of greater than 60 days without the requisite written authorisation from the Department of Health.

This included instances where he did so despite receiving multiple warnings from the Department about his behaviour, and after being advised that his authority had expired or application to prescribe had been refused.

He also admitted prescribing S8s when there was no clinical indication for the prescribing/quantities prescribed, and that he failed to seek addiction specialist advice or disregarded specialist advice in relation to prescribing high dose opiates.

Dr Waddell also conceded that he had failed to maintain adequate clinical records.

In respect of this conduct, Dr Waddell admitted that he had acted contrary to Good medical practice: A code of conduct for doctors in Australia.

He failed to comply with the code of conduct in a number of ways, including not referring patients to another practitioner when it was in the patients’ best interests to do so; and by not recognising and work within the limits of his competence and scope of practice.

He also failed to maintain adequate records, and to consider the balance of benefit and harm in all clinical-management decisions.

He failed to consult and take advice from colleagues, when appropriate; to display a standard of behaviour that warrants the trust and respect of the community; and to keep accurate, up to date and legible records that report relevant details of clinical history, clinical findings, investigations, information given to patients and other management in a form that could be understood by other health practitioners.

Dr Waddell was reprimanded for unprofessional conduct and had conditions placed on his registration that prohibit him from accessing Schedule 8 medication and which require him to submit to audits of his practice. He was also ordered to pay the Board’s costs of $14,900.

In reaching the terms of settlement, the Board accepted several mitigating factors regarding the conduct, including Dr Waddell’s otherwise unblemished disciplinary history of more than 50 years.

At the time of the conduct he had been experiencing significant stressors due to a recent serious medical condition requiring surgery and other treatment, it noted.

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