A controversial Hamilton GP struck off the medical registry for enrolling patients without their consent has lost his final battle to remain registered.
The Health Practitioners Disciplinary Tribunal (HPDT) yesterday announced that Dr Suresh Vatsyayann would have his registration cancelled, despite a High Court judge earlier expressing unease at such a penalty.
They said he was ‘‘not fit to practise’’ so no other penalty would suffice.
Dr Vatsyayann was first struck off the register by HPDT in May 2011 for enrolling patients without their consent, breaching patient privacy and allowing his unqualified wife to perform procedures such as smear tests and vaccinations.
He was also ordered to pay $256,000 in costs.
However, he appealed his removal to the High Court in Hamilton in March.
At the time Justice Priestly said he had ‘‘considerable unease’’ about the tribunal’s penalty because Dr Vatsyayann did not have the opportunity to present any mitigating factors to the tribunal.
He said Dr Vatsyayann should have the opportunity of having the penalty re-assessed.
That hearing occurred in August and yesterday the HPDT publicly released their decision to cancel Dr Vatsyayann’s registration.
They also ordered that he pay $150,000 in costs, a reduction of $106,000 due to his financial position.
The tribunal said it had given ‘‘anxious’’ consideration to the possibility of other penalties.
However, given the range of breaches and the depth of the underlying issues – particularly the lack of insight - any other penalty would not deal with the underlying problem ‘‘that Dr Vatsyayann is not fit to practise’’.
‘‘On the totality of the evidence presented to the Tribunal it is not satisfied that he is ‘amenable to cure’. Cancellation of registration is inevitable in those circumstances,’’ the decision read.
The Tribunal said the doctor did not appreciate the seriousness of the breaches and that was a concern.
Their decision does not prevent Dr Vatsyayann re-applying to the Medical Council in the future.
If he was to do so, he would have to go through a comprehensive competence review to determine whether he was fit to practise.
The Tribunal would not say whether they would be for or against him re-applying in the future.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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