20 May 2013

Doctor says relationship not professional misconduct

10:21 pm on 20 May 2013

A former medical practitioner who admits to having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a former patient says it did not amount to professional misconduct.

The doctor has interim name suppression and is appearing before the Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal in Hamilton.

She has also admitted not disclosing to the man's psychiatrist that his claims of a relationship were not delusional.

Evidence before the tribunal shows that she saw the patient in February 2012 and a friendly relationship started via emails later that month. It developed until the man was arrested on a serious criminal charge in late March.

The doctor disclosed the relationship to the Medical Council. Her practising certificate expired in November last year and she did not apply for a renewal.

Lawyer Hanne James told the tribunal on Monday that her client admits what happened - but it does not amount to professional misconduct because the six-day relationship didn't start until after the only consultation she had with him.

Ms James said there was a level of interdependency between her client and the man, and the case does not reach the threshold requiring disciplinary sanction.

The prosecutor told the tribunal it is a clear case of malpractice and bringing the profession into disrepute.

The tribunal will decide on a penalty.