Onus & evidence necessary for re-registration of a medical practitioner

Against a long history, including an earlier consideration by the New South Wales Court of Appeal, the applicant in the present proceedings sought re-registration, having previously had his name removed from the register for 10 years for matters associated with drug use and the death of a patient: Reimers v Medical Council of NSW [2015] NSWCATOD 38.

At [19], the Tribunal noted matters subsequently relevant, including the applicant’s guilty plea to a false pretences charge, an assault conviction and his completion of a law degree (though he was not permitted to practice law).

At [33], it was noted that during the initial part of the hearing it became clear that the applicant was faced with was an arguably insurmountable problem in gaining registration because he had not practised medicine since 2000, a gap of 14 years.

The Tribunal was required to consider whether the applicant is now a fit and proper person to be registered as a medical practitioner: [42]. The onus fell on him to prove that on the balance of probabilities (at [43]). At [58] the Tribunal addressed the drug use issue.

If the applicant is to regain registration it is imperative that the Tribunal be comfortably satisfied that he is drug-free and, to the extent possible, likely to remain drug-free even in stressful circumstances. Without this evidence we cannot be satisfied that he is a fit and proper person to be registered as a medical practitioner. There is no supporting corroborative evidence that he is drug- free, and there is no supporting psychiatric or other evidence that he has gained insight into his drug-dependant character and has developed mechanisms to assist him in dealing with his drug dependency.

At [60] the Tribunal described the provided character references as inadequate.

At [62] the application was refused.

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