Suspended Doctors Un-suspended

It is rare to read about action being taken against bad practitioners, but when it happens the system is on their side, public be damned. Getting the whole story requires reading the article, especially the last paragraphs about what he can legally do now, but the saga is essentially that

The Board … took away his license. However, Justice Paul Allan Tottle of the WA State Administrative Tribunal ruled that: “Suspending Dr Soutorine’s registration is a draconian step and I accept that it has the capacity to cause severe financial hardship to him.”

Financial hardship certainly makes being a bad doctor OK then, just in a lesser degree, right?


And in the Justice’s eyes hardship for the surgeon that cut corners, either deliberately or through not knowing, trumps hardship of any past or future patients that have unnecessary serious complications.


Money rules, good ethics be damned.


It is very difficult to discover who are good and not so good GPs [and surgeons] because complaints are held in a secretive manner as much as they can be.

This is the first time I have read about ‘problem GPs’ that have been disciplined about much of anything where some are named.

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Each situation is unique and it’s probably the case that generally the public wouldn’t hear about it unless suspension or cancellation of the practitioner’s registration has taken place. Immediate action might be is a little different because they are dealing with unsubstantiated claims:


Depending on the specific circumstances of the matter, the protection of the profession to maintain confidence in the medicos and the wider impact that might have on other patients if those things are put aside seem to be considerations.

Suspension, imposition of conditions on registration, accepting an undertaking, cautioning the practitioner, or referring the matter to another entity.

  • “Cautions are not required to be published on the national register”


See more ctrl+f and type publish


For that this site and NSW own version are possibly not widely known?

One could deduce the AMA or whoever sponsored that exception is protecting their membership not providing transparency to patients (customers).


A post was merged into an existing topic: Issues Accessing Health Care outside the big cities

Well, um,

Andrew Churchyard took his own life in 2016

so that’s lower risk for the ABC.

These stories are very rarely even-handed, always looking for the shock-horror angle, sensationalist, embellishment, conflation, … There are some things to argue against in that article but some things of course that are indefensible.

I would make the observation: Imagine that it’s you that has (allegedly) done the wrong thing. What would be your expectations around how a complaint is dealt with and whether the response is proportionate?

In that respect, I see nothing wrong with

More than 160 are still allowed to work today.

That’s proportionate response in operation. Would you think that a single speeding ticket should be enough to get you banned from driving for life? You can kill someone through dangerous driving and by default you won’t be disqualified for life (in NSW). (However there is no maximum disqualification period so it is open to the court to ban you for life, again, in NSW.)

In that respect I disagree with the opening proposition

You would expect that if a doctor, nurse or psychologist had been found to have […], they would no longer be allowed to practise.

No, I wouldn’t expect that! I would expect calm, impartial consideration of the facts and a proportionate response.

I think that, for balance, attention should be drawn to the following quote:

"Because we invest so much in training our doctors … if they can be rehabilitated and returned to safe practise, that’s usually seen as a good thing,” she says.

Isn’t that what we (in almost all cases) expect for everyone who has been found to have done the wrong thing? We don’t generally lock them up and throw away the key.

I think the following from the article is also contentious

had sex with a patient

We are talking here about consenting adults. (I assume this because if we were not then the ABC would be all over it like a rash.) Apparently in one case this doctor accepted sex in lieu of payment. Controversial? Undoubtedly. Cut and dried? No.

I just wonder what Medicare made of the claim in that case. :rofl:

In the other two cases involving this doctor, no information is provided at all about the context in which this doctor had sex with a patient. With no information, one can’t really form an opinion (but this is the internet so…).

There are a few professions, medicos among them, that can inflict significant personal damage by ignoring or not having professional ethics, or having a record of poor surgical outcomes (adjusted for their level of complexity). We can disagree whether they should be held to a high standard as well as public scrutiny, as well as whether ‘consenting adults’ are on equal footing in the context of a medical practitioner and patient, or as is sometimes publicised, teacher and student (of age or not).

I guess the consumer issue is whether knowledge and how much knowledge should be out there for the consumer regarding medical providers.

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That’s a whole different subject (and, as far as I can see, not covered at all by that article).

Obviously there’s a societal interest in getting better medical outcomes - although I don’t know whether a punishment regime is the best way of achieving that.

That is certainly a legitimate question posed by the article. We can look to other regulatory systems for guidance and ideas. Regardless of what is “best”, the trend is towards more information.

Is maintaining a high professional standard inconsistent with transparency!

When it’s an athlete whether unexpected substances in testing, or the grey lines between public and personal. Is the outcome typically revelation, and guilt assumed until acceptance/proof of innocence? It is often career ending and labelling for life regardless. Although in most but not all instances the only victim is the sports person. In those where the criminal law takes precedence, it’s no longer in the hands of the sporting bodies to judge, although they often do, a double jeopardy?

Drugs in sport and misbehaviour moral or professional always seem to make headlines with little doubt as to fact. However more serious accusations involving sporting personalities appear to be more carefully headlined, with the news knowing the repercussions ahead of court appearances.

The majority of the concerns raised in the ABC article re the medical profession seem little different in magnitude. However the public reveals on a daily basis are few and far between. Those of a criminal nature also seem absent only reported after the courts are done.

Is what really matters most how a sports person or a medical practitioner performs on the field or off?
Best to look to the daily news cycle for one answer.

The question for me is: transparency to whom? and to what degree?

At one extreme, a degree of 100% (total) to 100% of people (everyone).

The original article seemed to be complaining about the process whereby a suspended doctor gets unsuspended. One answer for that is that a suspension must be for a fixed period of time determined by the penalising body and once final avenues of appeal are exhausted for an irrevocable period of time. Then there is no process for unsuspending - and hence no issue regarding transparency of that process. Unsuspending would be automatic by virtue of the effluxion of time.

Another answer would be that some parliamentary committee should provide oversight - so the additional transparency would be to that committee (rather than trial by media).