Prohibtion of both medical practice and naturopathy

Health Care Complaints Commission v Bao-Quy Nguyen-Phuoc (No 2) [2015] NSWCATOD 94 is interesting by reason of the orders made. As well  as orders such that the respondent was disqualified from being registered as a medical practitioner for a period of three years, the Tribunal prohibited the respondent from providing on a private or public basis alternative health services being naturopathy and/or intravenous vitamin therapy unless and until he is re-registered as a medical practitioner.

Discussing the reasons for such an order at [34] – [35] the tribunal said:

We had some initial reservations about whether it was appropriate to make a prohibition order prohibiting the respondent from practising as a naturopath. As we understand it, the practice of naturopathy is entirely unregulated, there are no particular qualifications, and hopefully any treatment administered is not capable of inflicting harm. (We should not be taken to have assumed in any way that naturopathy is beneficial). On this basis, why should the respondent be precluded from endeavouring to earn a living, albeit that he has not said that he wished to pursue any such practice?

After some concerned consideration, we have determined to accede to the complainant’s request, for the following reasons. If the respondent came into contact with a person and gave advice for reward about any aspect of that person’s health or well-being, he would bring to bear on that advice his knowledge as a medical practitioner. Utilising such knowledge could potentially put the respondent in breach of the Act because he would not be registered as a medical practitioner. Furthermore, if such a person was aware that the respondent had formerly practised as a medical practitioner, or possessed an MB BS university degree, that person might well assume that he or she was receiving care at that level. The protection of the public would preclude these circumstances arising in the case of the respondent, based upon the nature and extent of the misconduct which we have found against him. We acknowledge that, in doing so, the respondent will thereby be deprived of an alternative potential source of income. However, this is an unfortunate result of the circumstances which have mandated the making of a prohibition order.

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